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As demand for railcars has plummeted, some workers will be moved to barge making.

PMG: ADAM WICKHAM  - Gunderson operates as a division of Greenbrier Companies. From its location on Northwest Front Avenue, the company makes both box cars and a double-stack design. The latter has been an especially strong product for Gunderson and its parent company, but as demand has plummetted in the coronvirus collapse, the company is cutting 3,500 workers, including 195 in Portland.

Greenbrier is laying off 3,500 workers.

The railcar and barge maker, with a large plant on Northwest Front Avenue in Portland, said Tuesday, April 7, it is cutting its workforce by 20% due to the economic downturn.

One hundred ninety-five jobs will cease to exist in Portland out of a local job force of 700. Most of the remaining 3,305 cuts will be made in Mexico.

Tacked on to the end of a statement about orders for 8,500 railcars, the company announced a $1 billion liquidity position and a dividend of $0.27 per share payable on May 13.

Greenbrier's stock was $32 a share in January 2020 but has been hammered lately, closing at $14.36 Monday, then rising to $16.45 with Tuesday's news.

Greenbrier Vice President Jack Isselmann said railcar volumes have fallen by historic levels.

"We're planning this as a temporary shutdown of our rail manufacturing capacity," he said. Many workers will switch to working on barges.

The Lake Oswego-based company is eliminating all non-essential capital expenditures and aggressively reducing overhead and SG&A (selling, general and administrative) expenses. It has also eliminated all non-essential travel and implemented a hiring freeze while evaluating its total operating unit footprints.

Isselmann added, "Finally, the members of Greenbrier's Board of Directors, including me, have voluntarily reduced annual compensation."

The company's manufacturing and service facilities will continue regular operations, including its work for Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and other federal agencies.

The company will work on its backlog "while observing stringent health and safety protocols."

The release continued: "Greenbrier continued to rationalize its global manufacturing footprint in the second quarter by idling excess production capacity at its North American manufacturing facilities as well as its aftermarket wheels, repair and parts locations that operate within Greenbrier Rail Services (GRS). Significant manufacturing efficiency programs also were implemented at Greenbrier facilities in Brazil and Europe in fiscal 2019."


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