By Nicole Cornett, Expansion Solutions Magazine
South Carolina has developed a strong workforce needed for businesses to thrive. Over the past decade, the state has proven to be a magnet for business with a strong logistics network of interstate highways, rail connections, ports and airports.
From premium automobiles and appliances to boats and aircraft, each time a finished product rolls off an assembly line in this state, it helps solidify South Carolina’s reputation as a location that truly is just right for advanced manufacturing. The Palmetto State now boasts a diversified industry of manufacturers, including automotive manufacturing, and is a true leader in advanced manufacturing and one of the world’s top producers of complex products.
Over 100 manufacturing companies call South Carolina home including Fortune 500 companies like General Electric, Honda, Samsung and Husqvarna. The state’s manufacturing industry is growing at a record pace that shows no signs of slowing, from manufacturing headquarters to expanding advanced manufacturing operations. In fact, over the last 10 years, the Palmetto State has averaged manufacturing employment growth of more than 17 percent. South Carolina now leads the nation in the export sales of tires and passenger vehicles.
South Carolina offers an array of grants and incentives to help businesses make smart business investments. South Carolina’s performance-based tax incentives reward companies for job creation and investment. The state has incredible tax incentives such as no state property tax; no inventory tax; no sales tax on manufacturing machinery, industrial power or materials for finished product; no wholesale tax; no unitary tax on worldwide profits; favorable corporate income tax structure; and no local income tax.
South Carolina’s location is unique, situated near the mid-point on the East Coast of the United States and just a two-days’ drive from nearly 208 million Americans. In addition to its ideal location, the Palmetto State also boasts five interstate highways and nine commercial airports.
South Carolina offers seamless connectivity amongst its various ports, railways, highways and airports. Each mode of transportation contributes to a vast network that can keep a business moving its products or raw materials smoothly. The state’s extraordinary market access and quality infrastructure have led to an increase in distribution and logistics operations.
Highways. Though coastal and temperate, South Carolina is just a two days’ drive from nearly 208 million Americans—that’s two-thirds of the U.S. population. That number includes all major East Coast markets, plus Detroit, Chicago and Dallas.
Railways. The state has 2,300 miles of rail lines served by the Norfolk Southern and CSX railroads that move 70 million tons of freight annually, while more than 41,000 miles of state-maintained highways connect the Palmetto State with customers in the North, South, East and West.
Airports. Seven major airports are seeded at strategic points across the state with several—Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, for example— maintaining increasingly active cargo-handling facilities.
Ports. One of the state’s most attractive features for manufacturers and distribution and logistics operations is the Port of Charleston – the seventh largest container port in the nation. With deep waters and high bridges, the Port of Charleston averages 40 or more crane moves per hour with only a 23-minute turnaround time for truckers, making it the most productive port in the U.S.
Also located in South Carolina’s northwest region is Inland Port Greer, a unique, rail-served inland port facility that extends the reach of the Port of Charleston, not only some 212 miles inland but to customers located within a 500-mile radius of the facility.
Inland Port Dillon, located with a 3,400-acre industrial site that fronts I-95, gives importers and exporters in the eastern Carolinas a powerful advantage in connecting supply and demand. With the help of CSX Class-I rail, Dillon connects directly to the deep-water Port of Charleston and gives its clients the ability to control costs with maximum flexibility and minimal cost. For exporters, the advantage offered by Inland Port Dillon is especially attractive, as the need to fill empty containers at the port for their return journey to Charleston and beyond has resulted in competitive shipping rates you won’t find anywhere else.
Competitive Business Locations
Uniquely situated on the I-95 corridor with six interstate interchanges and centrally located in South Carolina, Clarendon County is an ideal location for manufacturing facilities seeking logistical advantages. Bisecting the county from north to south, I-95 provides existing industries effortless interstate access along the U.S. Eastern seaboard. This major thoroughfare also connects to I-26 providing a direct route to port and cargo transport resources. The Port of Charleston is a mere 80 miles southeast and 60 miles to the west and will give you access to Columbia Metropolitan Airport and its UPS and FedEx air hubs.
Clarendon County offers a very aggressive incentive structure and is willing to partner with prospective companies to ensure success. With an ample labor force of over 200,000 within a 60-minute drive, Clarendon County offers what your business needs to be successful. Some of the more well-known companies that call Clarendon County home include Bicycle Corporation of America, Alucoil, Cummins-Meritor, Georgia-Pacific and Westinghouse to name a few.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is traditionally known for its tourism, beaches, and golf, but it is quickly becoming a thriving, diverse economy. Business sectors such as technology, distribution, and manufacturing are realizing the assets already established in Horry County. As the halfway point between New York and Miami, and the fastest-growing, mid-sized MSA in the U.S.—business leaders are beginning to take notice.
Multiple industrial spec buildings are currently under construction, and with many more to be developed over the coming years. As of September 2023, over 500,000 SF of industrial spec space is planned to hit the Horry County market. Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development had a record year in 2022, with seven announcements and over $120 million in capital investment. From the International Technology & Aerospace Park to various site-ready industrial parks, Myrtle Beach can serve any of your business needs. Horry County has the education, workforce, available incentives, and quality of life for local businesses to grow and expand, as well as new businesses looking to relocate to the Myrtle Beach area. Myrtle Beach is continuing its momentum and expanding its economic development growth for many more years to come.
Greenville is a hub of innovation with a strong workforce pipeline in the engineering field thanks to nearby colleges and universities. Renowned for its exceptional business climate and superior quality of life, Greenville, South Carolina is bursting with growth from its robust economy that is steeped in innovation. With a small town heart, Greenville is a mid-sized city having an affordable standard of living, low crime, great schools, and a vibrant culture; the perfect combination for business location or expansion. Discover how our community is evolving from a model manufacturing area to an international, cutting-edge innovation center.
Since its founding in mid-2001, the Greenville Area Development Corporation team’s efforts have resulted in the announcement of more than 34,600 new jobs and more than $6.6 billion in capital investment in Greenville County.
A Premier Business Location
With its second-to-none business environment, solid transportation infrastructure and diverse supply chain, the Palmetto State has succeeded in attracting substantial capital investment from around the world. The Palmetto state has proven time and time again to be the go-to-destination for business in the southeastern U.S. with success stories like BMW, Boeing, Volvo, LG, Giti Tire and countless others over the years. A Skilled-labor pool, top-notch training programs and facilities, a business-friendly climate, and competitive incentives are just a few of the things that make South Carolina attractive.