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Pocono Mountains Infrastructure – Wal-Mart Knows Its An Advantage

Learn why Wal-Mart picked the Pocono Mountains region for a major logistics and distribution operation.

By Kevin Litwin on June 22, 2016

Stroudsburg, PA
Stroudsburg borough / Courtesy of Sterling Business Park

The Pocono Mountains region is linked in, offering an integrated transportation network and access to interstates, rail service and airports.

Located strategically between New York and Philadelphia, the Pocono Mountains region is served by several major interstates including  I-80, I-81, I-84, I-380, I-476 and several major highways. A supply of well-positioned business parks, such as Arcadia North Business Park in Monroe County and Sterling Business & Technology Park in Wayne County, provide numerous shovel-ready sites.

A number of major distribution and warehousing operations have taken root in the region, including Wal-Mart, which operates a center in Tobyhanna with a workforce of more than 1,200.  GENCO, a subsidiary of FedEx that provides supply chain services for technology, retail, consumer and industrial goods, operates a facility in Mount Pocono that employs more than 400 workers.

1. Scranton: 48 miles

2. New York: 83 miles

3. Philadelphia: 102 miles

4. Baltimore: 183 miles

5. Washington DC: 223 miles

6. Pittsburgh: 227 miles

7. Boston: 273 miles

8. Cleveland: 390 miles

All Aboard

While interstates and highways help drive the transportation sector, rail is also a key component of the area’s freight-moving capabilities. Class I rail carriers Norfolk Southern Railway and Canadian Pacific serve the region. Shortline operator Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad serves nine Eastern Pennsylvania counties, while the Stourbridge Line provides freight rail service in Wayne County.

The Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority owns and oversees 100 miles of active rail in a territory that includes Monroe and Wayne counties, with Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad Co. contracted as its carrier to provide all freight-hauling services.

“We started our rail authority in the early 1980s and hauled less than 500 carloads during the first year, and nowadays we handle more than 8,000 carloads annually,” says Larry Malski, president of Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority (PNRRA). “Our 100 miles of track stretch from Carbondale to Scranton, and from Scranton through the Pocono Mountains to East Stroudsburg and the Delaware Water Gap. We serve about 25 active freight industries that depend on our railroad, plus we own several land parcels adjacent to the tracks for more companies to locate.”

The largest customer hauling freight via Delaware-Lackawanna railcars is the Ardent Mills flour processing facility in Mount Pocono, with its wheat hauled to the plant from North Dakota, South Dakota and Canadian provinces. Other major rail clients include Bestway Lumber in Cresco, Keystone Propane in Tobyhanna, Linde Bulk Transfer Facility in Carbondale, and the Monadnock Non-Wovens filter media plant in Mount Pocono.

Malski adds that the PNRRA works closely with the region’s economic development organizations to attract companies to locate along the rail lines.

“We are in conversations with several prospects and are currently working with three good leads for the near future,” he says. “Rail is the most environmental friendly way to move freight, and it is also the least expensive. For example, hauling cargo in one railcar is equivalent to five truckloads on the highways.”

Jet Set

Cherry Ridge Airport Honesdale

Spring Hill Airport Sterling

Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport Tobyhanna

Also accommodating the Pocono Mountains region are a number of airports, including Cherry Ridge Airport in Honesdale, Spring Hill Airport in Sterling, and Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport in Tobyhanna. Three years ago, Pocono Mountains Municipal extended its runway to 5,001 feet to accommodate more corporate jets, and its business has increased every year since.

“Area companies like Sanofi Pasteur, Johnson & Johnson and Wal-Mart use our airport along with many tourists who visit Camelback Mountain Resort, Mount Airy Casino Resort, Kalahari Resort & Convention Center and two annual NASCAR races at Pocono Raceway,” says Dave Moyer, chairman of the Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport Authority.

Moyer adds that the airport is vital as well as convenient to the region because the next closest facilities are Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International about 25 minutes away, and Lehigh Valley International 45 minutes away.

“Also attractive is that two industrial parks border Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport,” he says. “We have a lot of good things going for us.”

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