LUDINGTON — After nearly a century in Michigan, Harsco Corp. plans to permanently close its only manufacturing facility in the state, starting April 1.
The Harsco Rail division, a global supplier of railroad construction and maintenance equipment and vehicles, will consolidate and centralize all manufacturing operations and distribution into one facility near its West Columbia, S.C. headquarters.
“We have determined that there are numerous significant benefits for consolidating and centralizing all manufacturing operations and distribution into one manufacturing facility for North America Rail Equipment, which will be in Columbia, South Carolina. This consolidation will enable our Rail Division to better serve our customers through enhanced production and distribution. At the same time, it will allow our Division to improve efficiencies and better utilize manufacturing capacity,” the company said in a statement to MiBiz.
The Ludington plant makes a range of equipment used to install, remove and resurface rails.
All production jobs and certain management positions at the facility in Ludington will be affected, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act filing with the state Workforce Development Agency.
The company also operates facilities in Minnesota and New Jersey. The future of those locations remains unclear.
Employees at the Ludington facility are represented by Local 811 of the United Auto Workers union. The South Carolina facility is non-union, according to industry reports.
As many as 11 employees from Ludington may have the opportunity to fill open positions in South Carolina. Depending on negotiations, up to 151 employees could be laid-off.
The company formerly operated as Electric Tamper Equipment, Pandrol Jackson and Jackson Vibrators. Corwill Jackson founded the company in Ludington in 1923.
The company’s ties to South Carolina stem from a 1999 deal in which the former Jackson Vibrators merged with Fairmount Tamper to create Harsco Rail, a division of Camp Hill, Pa.-based Harsco Corp. (NYSE: HSC).
Harsco Corp., which serves the steel, railway and energy sectors, generated $1.6 billion in revenue in 2017, with $296 million attributable to the rail division, according to its annual report. The company will report its fourth quarter and 2018 full-year earnings on Feb. 21.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with a statement from Harsco about the closure.