Cummins to close marine manufacturing unit in Charleston
North Charleston-based Cummins Marine has notified employees that it is shutting down its local manufacturing line and moving it to North Carolina.
Cummins spokeswoman Janet Williams said the work will be transferred to Rocky Mount, N.C., where the diesel giant makes the mid-range boat engines that come through the Leeds Avenue plant to be upgraded.
“We’re just going to keep them there,” Williams said.
Some jobs within the marine unit will remain in North Charleston in areas such as sales, service and customer support, she said.
She would not specify when the manufacturing line will shut down.
“That’s going to take place over a period of months,” Williams said. “No one is losing their jobs right now.”
Cummins Marine employed about 160 workers and 20 contractors in late 2011, but that included employees of a joint venture that was being dissolved. Williams did not have an updated figure Friday. She said the company has a total payroll of about 780 in the Charleston region, where its other business makes turbochargers.
The Columbus, Ind.-based company set up shop in the region nearly 40 years ago.
The changes within the marine unit were announced as Cummins reported an abrupt slowdown in sales, especially for trucks.
“Demand has dropped sharply over the last three months, reflecting a high degree of uncertainty among customers in most geographic markets,” CEO Tom Linebarger said in statement this week.
In response, Cummins plans to cut 1,000 to 1,500 jobs by the end of this year, he said.
“We are tightening up worldwide,” Williams said. She said it’s too soon to say how the turbocharger division off Ladson Road will be affected,
“There have been no decisions made about what our CEO announced about the general belt-tightening,” she said Friday.