1.15 Johnny Burnett

Jones County Board of Supervisors President Johnny Burnett speaks during an announcement of a $20 million FedEx facility under construction at I-59 Supply Chain Park, right photo, near the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport on Thursday.

FedEx to open $20M distribution center near Moselle

A $20-million FedEx distribution center that’s under construction near the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport is expected to bring upward of 200 jobs to the Pine Belt. The 217,000 square-foot facility in what has been dubbed Supply Chain Park is slated for completion this fall.

The Jones County Economic Development Authority and Board of Supervisors joined the Hattiesburg Area Development Partnership and Forrest County Board of Supervisors at the airport Thursday to make the announcement.

“This is so exciting for the entire Pine Belt area, and it’s a collaborative project between the two counties and Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport Authority,” said David Hogue, Hattiesburg ADP president. “To start out 2022 with a Fortune 500 company announcing and building a project here in the community is great news for us in south Mississippi.

During the pandemic, greater Hattiesburg was ranked No. 2 in the United States in percentage of job growth, so the jobs just keep coming.”

Many factors in Jones and Forrest counties have caused this to happen, said Johnny Burnett, president of the Jones County board.

“Our colleagues from Hattiesburg and Forrest County have done so many things to support us in getting this going,” Burnett said. “This is going to be a lifeline to them and a lifeline to us for our entire community. It’s going to be a lot bigger than what we are looking at today because our dream is coming true.”

The I-59 Supply Chain Park currently houses NoTrax, Ashley Furniture and Flowers Bakery distribution centers. The industrial park is designed specifically for distribution, warehouse and e-commerce facilities with about 200 available acres, said Ross Tucker, Jones County EDA president.

“This is the first one, and we hope to have more in the future,” Tucker said. “So we are going to work hard to fill those slots. There are always prospects looking at it, which is a good thing for a distribution site in two counties, but nothing concrete right now.”

Burnett said the new jobs will also boost the local economy.

“If there are 200 people who work there, it’s going to create more jobs,” Burnett said. “People are going to buy cars, get groceries, it’s going to generate much more.”

FedEx is a Fortune 500 company, occupying the No. 45 spot on that list, and it is headquartered in Memphis. In 2020, Fortune ranked FedEx as No. 14 and No. 16 in 2021 in its World’s Most Admired Companies list. Currently, there are 14 FedEx distribution centers in North America, the closest being in Atlanta.

The good news just keeps coming for the Pine Belt region, Hogue said.

“We are helping the entire region here,” Hogue said. “The upgraded water and sewer lines on Superior Drive will not only serve for the new FedEx Ground operation but better position us within the I-59 Supply Chain Park. Our region is growing one project at a time, and each new project positions us for the next one.”

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