Driving back to Butte from the Big Hole after sundown, the lights of the new FedEx freight transfer station shine like an alien spacecraft come down to finally give humanity the once-over.
But the bright acre of daylight in the middle of a Montana night is no unidentified object. It is the destination for more than 50 tractor-trailers that pull in from the darkness, transfer parcels, and head back into the black each night.
The new 45,000-square-foot FedEx building is located in the Butte Tax Increment Financing Industrial District, or TIFID, southwest of town and just off Interstate 15. It has 67 load doors, is built on 25 acres, and is about three times the size of the company’s previous location at
2755 Lexington Ave.
Greg Peters, service center manager of the new facility, said the company has already hired 26 people in both fulltime and part-time jobs to handle the increased loads. Peters said plans are to hire 10 additional employees in the short term and possibly more in the future if the building and business expands.
“The way we have this built, we can continue to grow,” said Peters.
A day shift will continue to deliver locally, but the main hub will run from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. six days a week. Trucks come from all over the west, from Denver, Salt Lake City and Seattle, before transferring some of their parcels onto trucks bound for different locales.
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An entirely separate wing is used for packages bound for western Canada, mostly Edmonton and Calgary. Peters said customs officials keep a close eye on that work and are capable levying fines on the company of up to $4,000 for each mistake they make in the shipping process.
“We double and triple check that because we know how much more tight international (shipping) is,” he said. “Our employees have done a great job.”
Peters said the transloading for Calgary used to be split between crews in Butte and Salt Lake City, but now all of the work is being done locally.
“That’s where a lot of our increase has been,” he said. “Business into Canada is really growing.”
That helped necessitate the move to a bigger facility. The new building has plenty of perks, such as on-site fueling stations for trucks, and conference, training and break rooms for their employees. It’s also closer to the crossroads of Interstates 15 and 90, the main arteries for freight moving across the West.
“We feel really good about being here,” said Peters.