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January 30. 2013 9:54PM

Nashua trucking firm to cease operations, focus on subsidiary

NASHUA - Diana Juris and her sister Nancy Pappo had to make some tough decisions about the trucking company started by their grandfather in the 1920s.

The co-owners of Nashua Motor Express saw declining business in recent years, as costs continued to rise. Rather than continue to operate their own fleet of trucks, they decided it was time to take a different tack.

On Tuesday, they told their employees they would cease operating as a trucking company and focus on a subsidiary they created in 2012 - Nashua Logistics and Transportation Services.

While the old business required 30 employees, including drivers, mechanics, dock crews and office staff, the new business is primarily Web-based, requiring only three employees. The family legacy continues as Michael Pappo, Nancy's son, and two other employees stay on to manage the transition.

Diane and Nancy will remain in what she called "an advisory capacity."

The 27 employees were laid off, and the company's fleet of 20 tractors and 30 trailers will be sold. Instead of providing trucking services with its own vehicles, the new company will broker transportation for its clients, using a broad network developed over nearly a century in the transportation business.

"We've seen declining business in manufacturing, which was our primary freight," said Diana from the company's offices at 270 Amherst St. "The insurance rates are going up; diesel fuel has never come down, unlike gasoline, and now the state wants to put a higher tax on fuel. We just decided it was time to leave the trucks and bring the business to the Internet."

The Nashua Logistics and Transportation Services website, NashuaLogistics.com, features rotating images of trains, trucks and ships - suggesting a full range of transportation services. The new company is a member of the Transportation Intermediaries Association, which tells customers exactly what it does. It doesn't provide the transportation; it acts as an intermediary, with services such as brokerage, rate negotiations, report generation and bill auditing.

In addition to the sale of its trucks and trailers, the company is putting its real estate on the market - an 18,000-square-foot building on 4.5 acres fronting Route 101A in what has become a very busy commercial district. "That wasn't the case when we bought the land in 1959," Juris said.

While the transition may make sense from a business perspective, Juris said it was tough to part with a loyal and dedicated staff. "We had the best employees," she said, "and that made it very difficult to make the decision that we made. I want them to know how much we appreciate them."

dsolomon@unionleader.com



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