Schuylkill County logistics warehouse to close, costing 132 jobs

Ryder Integrated Logistics Inc. announced that it will close its Schuylkill County plant at 71 Mall Road, New Castle Township, terminating 132 employees.

The company, which calls itself “a leader in supply chain, dedicated transportation and fleet management solutions,” filed a Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act letter with the state Department of Labor & Industry that said the closure is expected to be permanent.

In a statement provided to the media, Ryder said that in accordance with the WARN Act, “we notified the state that, due to the bankruptcy announcement of our customer Bed Bath & Beyond, the retailer’s distribution center at 71 Mall Road in Frackville … will be closing between June 25 and July 9, 2023. Based on the information currently known and available, we anticipate that 132 positions at the Ryder-managed distribution center will be eliminated within that time period.

“Ryder remains committed to continuing to serve the needs of our customers in Pennsylvania, where we continue to operate other sites. Ryder is working on redeployment efforts, as feasible, to retain as many employees as possible.”

None of the workers at the Mall Road facility, which is on the site of the former Schuylkill Mall (since razed), are unionized.

Ryder Integrated Logistics is a subsidiary of Ryder System Inc., a $12 billion fully integrated port-to-door logistics and transportation company with operations throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Ryder System includes 48,000 employees, 45,000 customers, 260,000 vehicles under management, 11,000 professional drivers, 300 warehouses and 95 million square feet of retail space.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Penske Truck Leasing acquires Star Truck Rentals in midwest expansion

Reading-based Penske Truck Leasing has reached an agreement to acquire Star Truck Rentals Inc., a Midwestern transportation services company offering full-service leasing, commercial truck rental, contract maintenance, used truck sales and other services.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2023.

Star Truck Rentals, founded over 150 years ago and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, operates over 1,900 vehicles from 18 locations in Michigan and Indiana. The company serves diverse customers across the food and beverage, manufacturing, and consumer goods and services industries.

“Star Truck Rentals has impressive scale in the region, an excellent reputation in the industry and a commitment to exceptional customer service,” Art Vallely, president of Penske Truck Leasing, said in a release. “We look forward to integrating Star into the Penske brand and leveraging the best both companies have to offer to serve new and existing customers in the region.”

Tom Bylenga, president of Star Truck Rentals, added: “We are excited to join Penske. Penske and Star share a similar culture and approach toward supporting customers and developing associates. Joining with Penske will offer new opportunities for growth across an expanded network.”

Penske Truck Leasing operates and maintains more than 418,000 vehicles from more than 930 maintenance facilities and more than 2,500 rental locations across North America.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Hershey to acquire two popcorn manufacturing plants

The Hershey Co. has agreed to buy two manufacturing plants from Weaver Popcorn Manufacturing, a co-manufacturer of Hershey’s SkinnyPop brand, in Bethlehem and in Whitestown, Indiana.

Cost was undisclosed. The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory approvals and will be financed with cash on hand and short-term borrowings, a release said.

The deal is designed to enable the global confectioner and salty snacks company to sustain strong growth for SkinnyPop by strengthening internal supply chain capabilities in combination with its network of suppliers and co-manufacturers.

“Hershey has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years, stemming from a combination of successful strategy execution and an increase in more snacking occasions among consumers,” said Kristen Riggs, Hershey’s president of salty snacks. “In fact, SkinnyPop has been No. 1 in retail sales growth for ready-to-eat popcorn over the last three years.”

Jason Reiman, Hershey’s chief supply chain officer, added: “In response to consumer snacking trends, we continue to evolve our supply chain, making significant investments in the size, scale and capabilities of our network, improving resiliency while we continue to strengthen existing supplier relationships. Our acquisition of Weaver’s two facilities is a perfect example of how we’re investing to bring added capacity and strength across our portfolio of brands well into the future.”

A family-owned and operated company for over 90 years, Weaver operates three independent entities, including Weaver Popcorn Manufacturing.

According to its website, Weaver Popcorn Manufacturing “is a recognized leader in the production and co-packing of popping corn, microwave popcorn and ready-to-eat popcorn,” and operates the world’s largest microwave popcorn manufacturing facility.

Weaver Popcorn CEO Jason Kashman said, “Hershey is acquiring two best-in-class popcorn manufacturing operations that will enable continued growth in volume and quality, with teams at each location that have an unrivaled expertise.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

EnerSys acquires UK company

Reading-based EnerSys, a manufacturer of industrial batteries, announced that it has acquired Industrial Battery and Charger Services Limited, a leading battery service and maintenance provider headquartered in the United Kingdom.

The acquisition, effective immediately, gives EnerSys the opportunity to expand its motive power service offerings and strengthen its presence in the UK market.

By adding IBCS, EnerSys will be able to further enhance its comprehensive battery-related services, ranging from installation and maintenance to repair and replacement.

Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.

“We are excited to welcome IBCS to the EnerSys family,” Vincent Baudelet, vice president of sales and service, Motive Power EMEA, at EnerSys, said in a release. “Their expertise in battery service and maintenance will enhance our ability to provide end-to-end solutions for our customers, and their strong reputation in the UK market will help us grow our business in the region.”

IBCS will continue to operate under its current name and branding; its management team is expected to remain in place.

“We are delighted to be joining forces with EnerSys,” said Paul Hewson, managing director at IBCS. “This partnership will allow us to offer our customers even more comprehensive and integrated battery solutions, including top-of-the-line lead acid batteries, proprietary Thin Plate Pure Lead technology, and the industry’s most advanced lithium battery while also providing new opportunities for our employees.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Company signs 115,000-square foot lease in Reading Distribution Center

An affiliate of Endurance Real Estate Group LLC announced the signing of a 114,550-square-foot lease with Can Corporation of America Inc., a subsidiary of The Giorgi Companies Inc., at the Route 61 Distribution Center, 184 Tuckerton Road, Reading.

The lease with “Can Corp. continues our strong leasing activity within our Reading Industrial Portfolio,” a statement from Endurance said. The CBRE team of Paul Touhey, Sean Bleiler and Abraham Kromah represented Endurance in this transaction.

Endurance acquired the Reading Industrial Portfolio in February 2022. The largest building in the group is 184 Tuckerton Road, with 392,030 square feet. The building is 100% occupied, “in large part due to Reading’s strong labor pool and prime location to exceptional highway infrastructure that places six of the top 10 U.S. (metropolitan statistical areas) and 60% of the Canadian population within a one-day truck drive,” the statement said.

“This specific space was leased prior to launching a full-blown marketing effort, which speaks to the strength of the market and lack of functional product currently available to tenants,” said Albert J. Corr, senior vice president/principal of Endurance.

Formed in 2002, Endurance Real Estate Group is based in Radnor. Since its formation, the company has acquired and developed over $1.3 billion of assets totaling 20.6 million square feet and sold over 11.7 million square feet with a combined value of nearly $1 billion. Endurance also owns and operates a portfolio totaling over 5.3 million square feet consisting of 54 buildings.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer