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Greater Hazleton’s strategic location makes it a lucrative place for food processing companies

Greater Hazleton has capitalized on its strategic access to some of the country’s most vital transportation routes to become a successful hub for food processing and manufacturing.

The region is located within minutes of several major interstate highways, including Interstates 80, 81, 84 and 476. These routes connect Northeast Pennsylvania to any point imaginable within the continental United States and Canada.

Greater Hazleton is within a 300-mile radius of 25 percent of the nation’s population and production. This easy access to key transportation routes links food processing facilities to customers throughout the northeastern United States and beyond and inevitably saves food processing companies large amounts of money each year in reduced shipping costs.

Drew Hoben, plant manager at Gonnella Frozen Products, said, “Being closer to the major highways has made it easier for us to respond to our customers’ needs faster. It has also allowed our customers to realize savings on freight by enabling them to use backhauls to pick up product from our facility.”

Interstates 80 and 81, two of the country’s prime transportation routes, intersect just minutes from downtown Hazleton. I-81 passes through Hazleton’s western edge and runs adjacent to many of the food processing plants in the Humboldt and Valmont industrial parks, which gives great convenience to food processing companies and their logistics efforts.

Nadine Veet, human resources specialist at International Paper, said, “Having access to two of the main interstate highways in the country helps us distribute boxes to customers across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Massachusetts.”

Rail service is another one of many cost effective transportation options available for food processing companies in Greater Hazleton. Businesses in CAN DO’s Humboldt Industrial Park can take advantage of this transportation method through the easily accessible rail lines throughout the parks.

Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad (RBMN) provides access to the entire North American Rail System with direct connections to both Norfolk Southern and Canadian Pacific Railroads.  The short line rail carrier runs a scheduled service that provides additional rail switches when business needs warrant them. RBMN also offers railcar storage and personalized service for each business customer.

A local industry representative said, “Rail service within the industrial parks is a critical component in the delivery of raw materials and finished goods. Different items ship better by rail and it becomes a more efficient process for all parties involved. CAN DO’s efforts in promoting the availability of rail service within their parks has resulted in various companies deciding to locate here, as opposed to elsewhere.”

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