December 18, 2008

Ryder scales back, quits South America

U.S. trucking company Ryder System said it would eliminate 700 jobs and furlough 1,300 workers as part of an adjustment to the economic downturn.

Ryder also said it would end its operations in Brazil, Argentina and Chile, The Miami Herald reported Thursday.

The temporary layoffs affect drivers, warehouse workers and salaried employees.

Ryder's trucking service business has been hurt by slow sales in the automotive industry, which dropped 37 percent in November.

Detroit's Big Three automakers have all announce production cuts for the first quarter of 2009.

It is sad and disheartening that even though we have done better than most organizations "¦ nobody is immune to what happens in the environment of our customers, Chief Executive Officer Greg Swienton said.

With its pullback from South America, Ryder's presence in Latin America will be limited to just Mexico, the Herald said.

Returns from South America have not lived up to the company's expectations.

''We concluded that the returns and the expectations are not going to bring us to a level of profitability that we feel is adequate for our investors,'' Swienton said.