SMITHFIELD, Va. – Smithfield Foods Inc. intends to close the doors of its Newport News, Virginia, distribution center, which will affect the employment of 39 salaried and hourly employees. The company said in a statement that its lease at the distribution center expires Dec. 31. 

“Smithfield is committed to assisting impacted employees with this transition with a strong focus on securing job opportunities elsewhere at the company or with other local employers through partnership with the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Career Works Dislocated Worker Unit and Rapid Response Team,” said Keira Lombardo, Smithfield’s executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance.

In its 2018 Sustainability Report, Smithfield explained that one of its goals was to improve transportation logistics and stop redundant mileage by reducing the number of regional distribution centers. One example the company cited was pork bellies harvested at its Tar Heel, North Carolina plant, which might be turned into bacon in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, then driven back to the Southeast for sale at retail stores.

Smithfield said the closure of the distribution centers will reduce annual transportation and warehouse costs by about $45 million and enhance customer service.