Within the last decade, Team South Carolina has risen as a star player on the global economic development stage. Known as one of the top states in the world to do business, the Palmetto State consistently receives high rankings for job creation linked to foreign investment. So, how has this one-time small, southern textiles state transformed into a magnet for international business? The answer is quite simple.
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. More importantly, the workers across the state have built an undeniable reputation; they’ve proven, time and time again, that they’re capable of making any product, and making it well. While all of these qualities help make South Carolina an attractive business destination, true success happens because of the one team approach.
As a relatively small state, it’s easy for the many allies and partners across South Carolina to collaborate and solve any problems that may arise for existing industries. Together, Team South Carolina works to position the state and its companies for economic success. Included among its most important efforts are building and site certification, infrastructure improvement, international trade growth, supplier development and workforce development.
These efforts seem to be paying off. In 2016 alone, the Palmetto State experienced a strong year in both industry recruitment and international trade. From January to December, economic development projects pumped more than $3.4 billion in capital investment and approximately 13,100 new jobs into the state. Additionally, South Carolina exporters posted a seventh consecutive record year in 2016 with export sales of $31.3 billion – a $400 million increase over 2015.
Team South Carolina has done its homework, developed a business-focused economic development strategy and nurtured its talent — resulting in a solid reputation as being ‘just right’ for business.
Manufacturing Beast of the Southeast
South Carolina is home to an impressive roster of industry leaders including The Boeing Company, BMW, Volvo Cars, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Bridgestone Americas, Continental Tire, Giti Tire, Honda, Michelin, Sonoco, Samsung, Toray and many more.
During the last six years, the state has continued to develop strong relationships with top notch companies in the manufacturing industry that have chosen to, not only locate in the Palmetto State, but continue to invest and expand within its borders.
In June 2017, BMW announced that it would invest an additional $600 million to expand its South Carolina plant, creating 1,000 new jobs over the next four years. Thus, boosting its workforce to more than 10,000 people. The automotive giant – which has already invested $7 billion in South Carolina during that same time – also unveiled its 2018 BMW X3.
Furthermore, just two years after its initial investment announcement, Volvo Cars in September 2017, announced plans to invest an additional $520 million in its South Carolina operations and create 1,910 new jobs. This new commitment, coupled with the company’s initial 2015 announcement, brings its collective investment and job creation totals to more than $1 billion and 3,900, respectively. The Swedish automaker also announced that it plans to add an additional product line — the next generation XC90 — to its South Carolina operations in 2021.
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. Additionally, 70 million tons of freight move through South Carolina each year thanks to the state’s extensive rail system, which includes two Class I railroads – CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern – as well as seven independent lines, servicing nearly 2,300 miles of rail.
One of South Carolina’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.
In addition, over the next decade, S.C. will execute $2B in port-related capital investments, including the important Charleston Harbor deepening project that will achieve 52 feet of depth, making it the deepest harbor on the East Coast, a depth advantage that will add significant capability in the Southeast.
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.
Skilled Workforce and Exceptional, Customized Training
South Carolina is now a brand state. Once known as a state that produced textiles and tobacco — South Carolina’s workforce now makes remarkable objects that roll on the ground and fly in the air. As some of the world’s most recognized companies continue to invest in the Palmetto State, it is clear that South Carolina’s exceptional workforce has fueled a lot of this economic growth. With a reputation for making first-class products, the people of South Carolina are hardworking, loyal and dependable.
Recognizing the importance of providing industry with a large pool of well-trained workers, South Carolina has many nationally-recognized workforce initiatives. Through the S.C. Technical College System, the Palmetto State offers readySC™, a world-renowned job-training program, which has trained more than 280,000 individuals for qualifying companies since its inception in 1961.
With more than 240,000 students enrolled in one of South Carolina’s higher education institutions, it is clear that young individuals across the state are eager to enter the workforce. South Carolina’s ongoing effort to prepare that young workforce for the jobs of tomorrow is just one example of the state’s commitment toward cultivating a genuine, pro-business environment.
The Palmetto State takes pride in its progressive and competitive business environment. With one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the nation, combined with highly-competitive wages and low unionization, South Carolina has proven itself the ideal location for business growth and development. Additionally, South Carolina has no state property tax, no local income tax, no inventory tax and no wholesale tax.
The state also offers an abundance of natural resources. High-tolerance wastewater systems in South Carolina require less pre-treatment, resulting in lower operating costs for wastewater disposal. The air quality of the state is also ranked among the best in the nation. With major interstate pipeline systems that transport gas to nearly every county in the state, and more than 2,250 miles of transmission pipelines, South Carolina provides an abundant supply of natural gas for manufacturers.
It is also easy to get businesses up and running in South Carolina, thanks to the dozens of certified sites available today across the state. Many of these sites are located near major transportation hubs or arteries, which can translate into reduced shipping costs. Any location in South Carolina is within about an hour of a commercial airport.
South Carolina continues to offer businesses the competitive advantages they will find nowhere else. Whether it is a low tax rate and low regulatory business environment, a highly-skilled workforce or the ability to reach markets across the nation and around the globe, the Palmetto State provides the keys to success for businesses.
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