Toyota Logistics Operations Remain in Inland Empire

The loss of Toyota's sales and marketing center won't affect any of the jobs at the company's major parts logistics facility in Ontario

April 29--The loss of Toyota's sales and marketing center in Torrance -- comprised of about 2,000 employees -- won't affect any of the jobs at the company's major parts logistics facility in Ontario.

Representatives for Toyota said there are no plans for the company to move operations out of the Inland Empire, or any of its other distribution centers in the country. Ontario is home to the company's North American Parts and Logistics Distribution center, which employs about 500 workers.

"The Inland Empire is the ideal location to support the importation of parts and accessories from Japan and redistribute them across North America," said Neil Swartz, vice president and general manager of North American Parts Operations. "This facility also serves overseas markets where we export vehicles made in North America. We are committed to our 476 distribution associates there and to the surrounding communities."

The Inland Empire serves Toyota and other companies looking for a prime location for warehousing and logistics operations here. Logistics is a key economic engine for the Inland Empire, with the region serving as the nation's primary warehousing and transportation hub for goods moving out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the rest of the country, and U.S. exports moving from the east to the ports.

Companies have been attracted to the area because of available land, centrally located near major freeway connectors, and rail service, economic experts said. Amazon recently opened a massive fulfillment center in San Bernardino. New warehouses are also being built near the site of the Rialto Airport, which will be closing this summer to accommodate mixed use development.

"In terms of California and logistics, companies are attracted to the Inland Empire because of the availability of land and geographically, there is the meeting of major highways," said Tarique Hossain, associate professor of international business and marketing at Cal Poly Pomona. "It's very land intensive real estate in terms of location."

Construction of industrial areas in the Inland Empire is ongoing, and logistics in the region will continue to grow with the use of fulfillment centers by major retailers to support consumers increasingly using e-commerce, said Inland Empire economist John Husing. Land in the region is also cheaper than other areas of Southern California, lending more appeal to companies looking to set up shop.

"The county of San Bernardino continues to attract investment and new development," said San Bernardino County spokeswoman Felisa Cardona. "For example, Amazon, Burlington Coat Factory and New Flyer Industries are just three of the firms that are part of a recent wave of corporate expansions locating in San Bernardino County."

The region added about 47,000 new jobs this year. Husing expects another 40,000. In Barstow, an aluminum factory is in the process of getting permits from the city.

Scuderia Development hopes to build a 2.95 million square-foot aluminum manufacturing complex that would employee at least 2,000. The project is proposed to be built on 965 acres of vacant land in town, south of a former golf course, and southwest of Main Street and Lenwood Road.

Inland Empire economist John Husing said the project, if approved, would be one of the largest, "if not the largest single operation in the high desert."

Copyright 2014 - Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Calif.