Kingston Reacts To Loss Of Air Brake Plant

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When it comes to closing the Knorr Brake Limited plant in Kingston, Ontario, it's all about consolidation.

"It makes a lot of sense from a business perspective, from a strategic perspective, from a vision perspective. It allows us to consolidate all of our OE (original equipment) under one roof," said New York Air Brake President Michael Hawthorne.

The move to close Knorr Brake Limited in Kingston is something parent company - New York Air Brake - says needed to happen for the company to compete in an increasingly international market.

Another factor was that the Kingston plant didn't get a large contract it was seeking.

And finally, the facility in Watertown is ultimately better for business.

"The exterior I don't think has probably changed in quite a few decades, but internally it has. It's a world class manufacturing outfit and that's where we want to focus our efforts today so we can continue to bring more work into the area," said Hawthorne.

Air Brake says consolidation is key.

As a result, all manufacturing work will move here to company headquarters in Watertown.

Knorr Brake has been a staple of Kingston for nearly 40 years.

So when the brake plant suddenly announced it would be closing its doors, you can imagine it came as a surprise to many.

"We're all in shock as a community, and I know that the employees at Knorr are in shock and absolutely this was a business decision that did come out of the blue," said Carey Bidtnes of Kingston Economic Development Corporation.

Unexpected it may be, but the move could create upwards of 50 production jobs and about 10 salary jobs in Watertown.

That could have a profound effect on business in the north country.

See our earlier story

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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