Wallenius Wilhelmsen has announced temporary layoffs of 2,500 workers as it suspends operations at several land-based processing facilities in the U.S. and Mexico as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on its business.
“While we work diligently to avoid reductions in our workforce, we have no choice but to respond to the disruption experienced by our customers and the effect it has on our operational throughput and income,” says Craig Jasienski, President & CEO of Wallenius Wilhelmsen.
The layoffs amount to a little more than half of of the company’s production workforce across the USA and Mexico.
The company said the suspension of operations at some processing plants is in-line with automaker plant closures. It will review developments of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and plans to return employees to work when business rebounds.
News of the layoffs follows Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s decision earlier this week to put up to 10 of its vessels in cold lay-up and scrap another four vessels. The company has also decided to cancel dividends for 2019.
“The Coronavirus has created unique issues, pressures and challenges for businesses around the world. We recognize and remain sensitive to the challenges many employees and families are facing during these uncertain times. Still, I remain confident that making some hard but responsible decisions today, is a far better course than waiting and having to make bigger and harder decisions later. We will continue to hold that mantra as matters develop,” said Jasienski.
Wallenius Wilhelmsen is a market leader in the roll-on/roll-off shipping sector, operating a fleet of around 125 vessels, 120 processing centers and 11 marine terminals.