Monday, December 12, 2011

I-95/US 301 is getting funding!!!!!!

PRESS RELEASE: Clyburn Announces $12 Million TIGER Grant for I-95/US 301 Interchange

Washington, DC - Sixth District Congressman and House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn today announced Orangeburg County has received a $12.1 million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant to create a southbound access ramp from U.S. Highway 301 to Interstate 95. The project will also extend Highway 301 from the interchange to the site of the Jafza intermodal distribution center.

This grant award added to $14.9 million previously secured by Congressman Clyburn, and $3 million and $1 million contributed by the State and Orangeburg County respectively, will be enough to complete this $26 million phase of the I-95/U.S. Highway 301 improvement project. This project is crucial to the full utilization of the Jafza center, which is located in the Global Logistics Triangle bounded by I-95, Highway 301, and S.C. Highway 6.

"Today's TIGER grant is an early Christmas present for the State of South Carolina," Congressman Clyburn said. "This project will make a Continental Tire or Boeing aircraft type project possible for Orangeburg County and the I-95 corridor."

According to Orangeburg County's TIGER grant application, Jafza "center operators expect the full distribution center to generate more than 6,000 jobs regionally in an area which is, and has been for decades, one of the nation's most economically disadvantaged."

The center, when completed, will receive offloaded cargo from the Charleston and Savannah ports by train and trucks for distribution to its final destination.

"Orangeburg County is thrilled with today's announcement of the TIGER grant to enhance the I-95/US 301 interchange that will create an opportunity for significant economic development along an economically challenged area on the I-95 corridor," said Bill Clark, Orangeburg County Administrator. "I would like to thank Congressman James Clyburn, along with Senator Lindsey Graham and the other members of our Congressional Delegation for their work in assisting our local officials in making improvements to the needed infrastructure that will lead to job creation for the citizens in our County."

"This is a project I have been working on for more than a decade, and it is exciting to see it come together at a time when our rural communities along the I-95 corridor have been hit so hard by the economic downturn," Congressman Clyburn continued. "Today is truly a great day in Orangeburg County."

In addition to the long-term impact on the local economy, the construction of the access ramp and 301 extension is estimated to create 404 jobs from 2012 to 2016. Most of those jobs are expected to be created in Orangeburg County, which ranks eighth among the nation's poorest counties with a population greater than 65,000 based on 2008 data.

From the Times and Democrat.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sumter get Continental Tire Plant

Logistics key to Continental decision to build in S.C.

By Chuck Crumbo
Published Oct. 12, 2011

SUMTER -- Continental Tire’s plans to build a new plant in Sumter County have been hailed as proof that the Obama administration’s decision to crack down on imports of subsidized tires from China is working.

In September of 2009, the government launched a three-year plan to impose tariffs on Chinese tires — which were priced at least 25% less than tires made in the United States — to bolster the U.S. industry and spur job growth.

Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt speaks during the announcement about Continental Tire’s plans to open a manufacturing plant in Sumter County. (Photo/Jim Hammond)
Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt speaks during the announcement about Continental Tire’s plans to open a manufacturing plant in Sumter County. (Photo/Jim Hammond)

When Continental Tire the Americas, which is based in Fort Mill, said in April it planned to build a new plant somewhere in the United States, theAlliance for American Manufacturing cheered the announcement and said “enforcing U.S. trade law works.”

But as far as Nikolai Setzer is concerned, tariffs had nothing to do with Continental’s plans to build a $500 million manufacturing facility in the Palmetto State.

“We have such a strong demand for our tires that it makes it necessary for us to increase our U.S. operations next year independent of external forces,” said Setzer, a member of Conti’s executive board and chief of the company’s global tire business about the tariffs policy on Chinese tires. Continental Tire is a subsidiary of Continental AG in Hanover, Germany.

Following last Thursday’s announcement at the Sumter Opera House, Setzer repeatedly stressed logistics was key to the company’s decision.

“It’s not driven by the outside environment,” Setzer said of the decision to build a plant that eventually will employ 1,600 workers. “It’s driven by our important KPIs (key performance indicators), which must be fulfilled.”

“We need a good logistics setup. Logistics are important for tires. We are close to a harbor here,” Setzer said, referring to the Port of Charleston.

The port, which is less than 100 miles from Sumter, is important to the tire industry because most raw materials used to make tires — like rubber and carbon black — are imported.

The port also is essential to exporting products, although Setzer said tires made in Sumter are expected to be used for consumption in North America.

According to the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Commerce Department, South Carolina exported $2 billion worth of rubber and plastic products in 2010.

Other advantages the state has logistically is its location between New York and Miami, its interstate highway system that connects the state to major cities along the Eastern Seaboard, and railroads.

“We have lots of customers on the East Coast,” Setzer said, adding that the plant will be supplying tires to automakers in the United States. “And we have suppliers close. It’s a great advantage for us to be close.”

South Carolina, which already is the No. 3 tire manufacturing state, could vault to first place by the time Continental’s facility is up and running in 2017.

Continental’s project, along with the $1.2 billion expansion of Bridgestone’s manufacturing facilities in Aiken County, and Michelin’s $200 million investment in its Lexington plant, will increase the state’s daily production capacity by 50% to 120,000 tires from the current figure of 80,000, according to statistics compiled by Tire Business, a trade publication for tire dealers.

As the state’s tire business grows, more suppliers and vendors are likely to follow.

For example, the same day Continental was making headlines in Sumter, DuPont announced the startup of a $500 million Kevlar manufacturing facility in Berkeley County near Charleston.

While Kevlar fiber is best known as the material that goes into making lightweight, bullet-proof armor for law enforcement officers, it also is being used to manufacture tires. According to DuPont, Kevlar was used in 1 billion tires that went to the automotive and aerospace industries in 2010.

DuPont could be an example of more investment and jobs that are likely to follow this year’s $2 billion worth of announcements by Continental, Bridgestone and Michelin.

“It’ll be interesting to watch how fast the supplier industry starts migrating toward South Carolina, further anchoring the state at the top of the manufacturing ledger,” Tire Business said an editorial in Monday’s edition.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Eastern Orangeburg County Sustainability Study

I just had a chance to meet Mr. Roger Waldon of Clarion Associates. His company is conducting a study of our area and the impact the Global Logistics Triangle and Jafza will have on our communities.

Please visit and get involved in this study. You can help shape the future of our community in Eastern Orangeburg County.