Kia to tap Savannah for Telluride components, Brunswick for export
At the Georgia Foreign Trade Conference, Stuart Countess, chief administrative officer and vice president of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, announced that the Telluride, its new 8-person SUV, will begin crossing the Port of Brunswick’s docks for global markets this month.
Through vertical integration – parts in via Savannah, autos out via Brunswick – Kia takes advantage of Georgia’s extensive road and rail infrastructure, as well as its broader network of shipping line services.
Countess, Mark Boucher, director of vehicle logistics for the Volkswagen Group of America, and Gerry Lee, vice president of planning and logistics for Subaru of America, took part in the GFTC automotive panel, titled “What Challenges Does the North American Auto Industry Face in 2019?” One of the keys to success, the experts agreed, is a reliable and cost-efficient supply chain.
Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga receives parts from the Port of Savannah and currently exports a small number of the Passat and Atlas models via Brunswick. Boucher said VW will soon launch a new version of the Passat and the company has “robust plans for delivering the Atlas to more than 30 export destinations in 2019.”
In addition, Boucher said the manufacturer was making an $800 million investment to manufacture and export electric vehicles by 2022.
Another example of vertical integration among GPA’s automotive customers is General Motors’ Acadia. The Port of Savannah supplies GM’s Spring Hill, Tenn., plant and, starting this year, will export approximately 12,000 Acadia SUVs through Ocean Terminal.
The Georgia Ports Authority performs a similar service for the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Ala., with parts imported through Savannah and finished vehicles exported via Brunswick.
Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 439,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $25 billion in income, $106 billion in revenue and $2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.5 percent of U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2017.