CSX Intermodal may be set to leave Hunt Valley . . . GOING?

July 26, 1995|By Suzanne Wooton | Suzanne Wooton,Sun Staff Writer

CSX Intermodal plans to lay off an undisclosed number of workers at its Hunt Valley offices next week as part of a restructuring that could include shifting its corporate headquarters from the Baltimore area to Jacksonville, Fla., next year.

Dan Murphy, a company spokesman, said yesterday that no final details have been worked out. But he said the layoffs are part of a companywide work force reduction of 12 percent, prompted by a recent drop in trailer shipments for the company that moves domestic and international freight.

Likewise, he said, the consolidation of offices is part of the planned cutback, though no final decision has been made about locations.

"We're considering consolidating positions and locations and one of the options being looked at is shifting people from Hunt Valley to Jacksonville," Mr. Murphy said.

The Hunt Valley office, which employs 250 people, is the executive headquarters for the intermodal company which is a unit of CSX Corp., the transportation giant based in Richmond, Va. A move would leave Baltimore, once a major transportation center, with virtually no presence in CSX's corporate structure.

In the past 15 years, since Baltimore-based Chessie System Inc. and Jacksonville, Fla.-based Seaboard Coast Line Industries merged to form CSX, the new transportation company has shifted more and more of its operations away from Baltimore.

In 1992, CSX Transportation moved the last vestiges of its railroad headquarters from here to Jacksonville. Currently, the railroad has about 400 workers at the Charles One Center building downtown that the railroad built. It also employs about 1,500 other workers around Maryland, from the Curtis Bay coal pier in Baltimore to the rail yard in Cumberland.

According to Mr. Murphy, CSX Intermodal's Container Transfer Facility at Baltimore's Seagirt Marine Terminal, which employs about 50 people, will not be affected by any cuts. The facility handles movement of containers off and on ships from trucks and trains.

The loss of workers at the Hunt Valley executive office comes just as the industrial office park complex off Interstate 83 in Baltimore County had begun to rebound from defense and recession-related job cuts.

CSX Intermodal, formed in late 1987 and moved from downtown Baltimore to Hunt Valley seven months later, has had steady employment growth since then. Besides its executive headquarters in Hunt Valley, the company has key operations in Mt. Laurel, N.J., and in Jacksonville, where CSX Transportation is based. Overall, the intermodal company employs about 1,700 workers. Largely because of competition from the trucking industry, CSX Intermodal's business declined 10 percent through the first half of 1995. While still making money, it is less profitable than expected, according to Mr. Murphy.

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