April 13, 2024

PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — With a few smiles and a snapping of the scissors, the ribbon is cut for FedEx’s automated facility on Portage Road, about three miles from their former ship center on Sprinkle Road.

Sean O’Donnell is the facility senior manager for the location.

“It kind of puts us right in the heart of a good area and the facility itself is double the size that the Sprinkle Road facility was,” O’Donnell said. “It gives us more space and also more speed in terms of sortation with the automation.”

On a normal day, O’Donnell says 12,000 packages can be processed per hour — twice as fast compared to the other facility. He added the location with immediate access to I-94 makes it efficient for the more than 400 employees working there and the businesses relying on their operations.

“We deliver all of Southwest Michigan, so it gives us a great launching point to reach all the way to the lakeshore, down to the border of Michigan. It gives us a good advantage point to accomplish,” he said.

Those businesses include family-owned Tire Wholesalers Inc., who branched from their humble beginnings in Troy to four total locations, including one in Kalamazoo. VP of Operations Andrew Tonissen said FedEx’s new facility helped dramatically increase their on-time shipping to their customers since it began operations in July 2021.

“Most people don’t like to ship tires. FedEx really embraces that. So, when you take their philosophy around shipping big, irregular packages and the technology that they offer with what he have, it’s been a phenomenal partnership,” Tonissen said. “They have helped us grow across probably the last five or six years.”

FedEx announced a $5,000 donation to Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes. According to the city of Portage, the company is also investing $10 million into the Portage Road Corridor, which addresses pedestrian safety, among other measures.