With the expansion of the Panama Canal, dredging operations in the state’s main port, and business friendly rules, the state of South Carolina is attracting manufacturing business from around the world. You’ve read about Samsung, Boeing, BMW and more on this site, but it’s not just these major manufacturers that are finding home in South Carolina. Smaller manufacturers too, are attracted to the Palmetto State, especially its Upstate region.
Here the Wall Street Journal‘s Erica Phillips explains why the Panama Canal expansion is driving new jobs and money into South Carolina’s inland Upstate region, 200 miles away from the ocean.
The expanded Panama Canal “is going to drive industry and create even more businesses there,” said Joel Sutherland, director of the Supply Chain Management Institute at the University of San Diego. “Having a regular flow of containers…will attract major manufacturing, then their suppliers, then their suppliers’ suppliers, and ultimately more people.”
From the Port of Charleston—which is dredging its harbor to be the deepest on the East Coast—container cargo makes the quick trip by rail to a freight hub in Greer, S.C., known as the Upstate’s “inland port.”
Trucks pick up those containers of component parts and retail goods bound for nearby factories and distribution centers. And from there, truckers can reach Atlanta or Charlotte, N.C., in two or three hours, and most of the rest of the Eastern U.S. within a day’s drive.
“The Panama Canal is not even completed, the port dredging has not been completed, but we’re already attracting major distribution and manufacturing companies,” said Trey Pennington, an industrial real-estate broker with CBRE in Greenville. “The Panama Canal will fundamentally change the market dynamics of South Carolina in the coming years.”
The Upstate was a textile hub for a century before the industry began to decline in the 1970s. Michelin began making tires in the region in the early 1970s, and BMW AG opened an auto plant outside Spartanburg in the early 1990s. Suppliers have followed over the years. More recently, retailers have set up distribution centers where they can quickly ship products to customers across the Southeast.
Greer’s inland port kick-started another wave of development when it opened three years ago.
Read more here.