Expect the sound of heavy truck engines to help ring in a new, more prosperous year for McDuffie County in January 2021.

Timber Products Company based in Springfield, Ore., bought a 20-acre parcel for its trucking division, TP Logistics, on the 100-acre site of the old Georgia Pacific plant in Thomson.

Timber Products bought the warehouse from Garland Brothers, a company in Suwanee that buys and sells industrial manufacturing buildings, equipment and assets. Garland Brothers bought the fire-damaged site as an investment this past summer. The old Georgia Pacific plant burned in the spring of 2019.

The new trucking facility has 75,000 square feet of indoor storage space and will include a maintenance shop, driver’s lounge, truck wash, and tarping station, as well as extra storage space outdoors.

“As we understand it, initial job creation will be in the 50 to 60 employee range,” said Don Powers, President and CEO of Forward McDuffie, the umbrella organization for economic development in Thomson-McDuffie. “Predominantly drivers with 10 or so support personnel in the office. It could grow to over 100 employees if and when additional services are added to the site.

The portions of the building that were destroyed by fire are currently being demolished and cleaned up. The 100-acre parcel now essentially serves as a private industrial site, with the first section purchased by TP Logistics. There remains interest in returning the remaining land and buildings into a manufacturing facility and our local office is working with the owners as needed. Having one (TP Logistics) and perhaps another new industry on that site will certainly raise the value of the property and be a nice addition for the tax base; not to mention the jobs.”

“We are excited to expand our operations further into the Southeast United States,” said Tom Gennarelli, vice president of TP Logistics and TP Trucking. “This will enable us to grow our logistics operation and expand our truck fleet in the east.”

TP Trucking currently operates 160 flatbed trucks in the lower 48 states. In addition to its asset-based trucking services, it also provides brokerage services and Class A equipment maintenance and body repair out of the Central Point, Oregon facility. With more than 120 drivers and 40 owner-operators within the current fleet, TP Trucking officials said the company intends to increase its fleet size by 30 percent, to 500 trucks, over the next five years.

In a telephone interview with the Progress, Gennarelli said the company plans to base 100 trucks in Thomson. This would necessitate hiring 100 drivers and filling 50 to 100 administrative-type positions, including human resources, dispatch and maintenance, he said.

Gennarelli said several factors helped draw TP Logistics to McDuffie County; one being railroad access (CSXT) and another was having a warehouse on the property.

The Thomson location will provide TP Logistics a direct rail and truck link to other Timber Products manufacturing facilities, as well as access to the port of Savannah, according to a company news release.

“The site has the ability to load and unload boxcar, center beam, flat cars, and containers,” according to the release.

The facility will serve as home to 20 short-haul and long-haul trucks with the capacity to transload three cars per week. Long term plans include adding more trucks to the fleet, a full service, two-bay maintenance shop for Class A trucks and equipment, and the ability to transload more than 20 cars per week, company executives said.

Powers said having the Timber company’s trucking division locate to Thomson is additional good news, coming on the heels of United Medical’s announced purchase of the Hollander building in McDuffie County. “Certainly this helps, especially during the pandemic,” Powers commented.

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