Freight-service company Forward Air opening in Bethlehem

A Tennessee-based expedited freight service company is expanding into the Lehigh Valley.

Forward Air Corp. said its expansion into the Lehigh Valley is part of an overall growth strategy that involves infrastructure investments in its less-than-truckload service, including acquisitions of similar businesses.

The company is starting LTL service operations in Bethlehem as part of that strategy, which includes opening operations in cities that are not adjacent to major airports.

“The Lehigh Valley area is highly attractive for us,” said Tom Schmitt, chairman, president and CEO. “With manufacturing on the rise and a very capable workforce, we see a tremendous opportunity to grow with the region.”

Forward Air Corp. is opening less-than-truckload freight service operations in Bethlehem. PHOTO/SUBMITTED

The company, which employees more than 5,000 nationally, expects new hires in the Lehigh Valley to include office and sales personnel, dock workers and independent contractors.

According to the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp., Forward Air will be the fastest expedited carrier in and out of Bethlehem.

It noted that the company has a nationwide network that covers 98% of the U.S. population with freight management services in LTL, full truckload, intermodal drayage and final-mile delivery.

Its new facility will significantly improve freight operations for businesses in the Lehigh Valley region, said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp.

“As a major manufacturing center, the Lehigh Valley needs companies like Forward Air to continue its economic growth,” he said.