Ryder responds to challenging economy

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Ryder System on Thursday, Dec. 18, announced several strategic and tactical initiatives to address current global economic conditions and drive long-term profitable growth. The initiatives include discontinuing current operations in several international markets and eliminating positions, primarily in the United States, to align costs with current and anticipated levels of business.

Ryder is eliminating about 700 positions, mostly in the United States. In addition, due to the severity of recently announced downturns in automotive production in North America, the company will be issuing temporary layoffs, primarily in the United States, to about 1,300 drivers and warehouse workers, and about 125 salaried employees. Ryder also plans to discontinue current supply chain operations and contracts in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Europe.

The company says these steps will allow it to focus on enhancing the competitiveness and growth of its service offerings in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Asia, and that these actions align resources in support of its highest potential markets and customers, and improve the cost structure of the organization going forward.

“The current economic conditions present a significant challenge for many companies across nearly every industry,” says Greg Swienton, chairman and chief executive officer of Miami-based Ryder. “Based on the business-model improvements we’ve implemented since the last economic downturn, and with the benefit of these current additional strategic actions, we are positioned to compete effectively in the present market environment. We are committed to continuing to advance our competitive position in the highest potential markets.”

Swienton says Ryder has a strong balance sheet, good credit ratings, positive cash flow and access to growth capital. “We further expect that these initiatives will not only help us weather a difficult environment, but also enable us to emerge from this current downturn as a stronger organization,” he says. “Although the decisions we’ve made have been difficult, especially in terms of the affected employees and customers, we believe these are necessary and responsible actions to help ensure a strong future for Ryder, its employees, customers and investors.”