Toledo Express Airport loses 700 jobs with end of BAX Global

BAX Global was turning 22 flights and 1.2 million pounds of cargo a night at the Toledo facility.

/ Tim Wening

More than 700 jobs are at stake at Toledo Express Airport with the recently announced demise of BAX Global.

"We are incredibly disappointed to learn that our partner for more than 20 years - BAX Global... will be phasing out of its U.S. dedicated air fleet and transitioning from operating its own air fleet to a non fixed-base model." said Paul Toth, CEO of Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, in a released statement.

A news release from BAX Global's parent company, DB Schenker, says the decision is in response to "changing marketplace conditions and along with the renewed focus on transportation management services is aimed at positioning the company for continued growth and success."

We deeply regret that there will be some layoffs as part of this realignment," said Heiner Murmann, CEO of Schenker, Inc. "However, we are working to redeploy as many employees as possible to other parts of our business."

The phasing out of the U.S. dedicated air fleet, which represents less than 10 percent of DB Schenker business in the Americas, will take place over the next several weeks. Employees at BAX have been notified.

"Toledo Express has a strong background in the global cargo market and it is the desire of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to continue cargo operations absent of BAX Global," Toth said. "The Port Authority continues to actively pursue various activities and opportunities relative to cargo development at Toledo Express. We believe the combination of the experienced existing workforce and the logistical advantages of the Toledo region and Toledo Express provide a strong framework for these activities."

Port authority officials have not been given an exact date for the closure of the facility, but they expect it to end operations within the next five to six weeks.

The port authority had secured $6.2 million of federal funding to make improvements to the facility -- which the port authority owns -- that included a new U.S. Customs facility which was deemed critical to the success of BAX's international shipping operation through Toledo. However, at the beginning of this year, BAX asked the port authority to put the planned improvements on hold while they assessed the role of the Toledo facility in their overall global strategy.

BAX Global was turning 22 flights and 1.2 million pounds of cargo a night at the Toledo facility.

The port authority earns approximately $1.2 million a year in rent, landing fees, and fuel flowage charges. They are confident they'll be able to replace that revenue.

"One thing we've worked hard at over the years is diversifying our revenue stream," said Toth. "Cargo is up at the seaport and we're working hard to get the intermodal yard going at the seaport."

The Port Authority lease agreement with BAX Global is effective through September 2013. In the coming weeks, the Port Authority will determine the impact this will have on Port Authority operations. There is outstanding debt on the structure being paid by BAX, but the port authority is responsible for a $9.8 million payout at the end. However, the port authority has planned for that. "We've created offsets within the bond fund program to make sure the tail [$9.8 million] is taken care of," Toth added.

What do you think will happen to Toledo's economy after job loss and transportation loss? Is there a way to recover from such a large lay off? Let us know below.