Friday September 5, 2008
Mayor Jerry Abramson joined state and local officials today as UPS officially opened the Louisville Centennial Hub – its $67 million ground-package sorting operation near Louisville International Airport.
The global shipping hub at 8100 Air Commerce Drive, south of the airport, can handle up to 40,000 packages an hour. That's 25 percent more than was possible at the old sorting facility on Ashbottom Lane, which opened in 1969.
“In 1982, when United Parcel Service started overnight service to a small sorting center it had opened in Louisville the previous year, the company had 115 workers here,” Abramson said.
“Who knew that UPS would one day be our city’s largest employer, with more than 20,000 local jobs”?
The 258,390-square-foot hub facility is also "much more expandable than where we were at the Ashbottom building," which is slated for demolition, said Nancy Barczak, a UPS spokeswoman. When the need grows, capacity can easily be increased to 60,000 packages per hour, she said.
"Really, it's all about growth, both the ground side and the air side," said UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot. Volume at the Worldport air-package hub at Louisville International has expanded rapidly through the years, and many of the companies attracted to the area by convenient overnight air service also have ground-service needs, he said.
"We talk all the time about how you can fly a package in a couple or three hours to 95 percent of the (nation's) population," he said. But "on the ground side, Louisville is a great central location for the country, as well."
In the last two years, Bengert said, the ground-sorting operation has added about 200 employees. The work force now totals about 1,125.
Overall, Worldport is the largest hub in the system. It will be able to handle 487,000 packages per hour when its expansion is completed in 2010.
This new hub, under nearly 50 acres of roof, proves yet again that our decision to expand the airport in the late 1980s and early 1990s has paid back epic proportions to our economy, to our city, to our state,” Abramson said. “It’s also provided the room UPS has needed to grow.”