Viking Freight's Elkridge plant closed, 110 laid off Hagerstown terminal also to shut down

April 03, 1997|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

Caliber Systems Inc., a trucking and package delivery company, said it had shut its Viking Freight plant in Elkridge and laid off the plant's 110 employees.

The plant closure is the result of steep losses by Caliber last year. The holding company reported a $127 million loss after it merged five regional carrier companies under one umbrella, Viking Freight Inc.

Nationwide, Caliber said, it would cut 4,000 Viking Freight jobs and close 83 terminals in the Midwest, South and East.

Caliber said it is eliminating or selling virtually all of Viking's East Coast terminals.

Viking's only other terminal in Maryland, which employs six, is in Hagerstown. That site is also being closed, said Dina Gruey, a spokeswoman for Akron, Ohio-based Caliber.

"The losses generated by Viking have been unacceptable," Daniel J. Sullivan, chairman and chief executive officer of Caliber, said in a prepared statement.

Caliber, he said, would continue operations in the western United States.

Viking is known in the industry as an inexpensive, nonunion shipper for what is called the less-than-truckload market.

Viking's Elkridge plant had been in operation since 1995. Most of the people losing jobs are truck drivers.

The plant also employed sales associates, dock platform workers and administrative employees.

Spokeswoman Gruey said salaried employees have been offered severance packages.

Pub Date: 4/03/97

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