Mississippi continues to ensure its business-friendly environment encourages companies of all sizes and sectors to locate or expand existing footprints within the state.
In February 2016, Mississippi celebrated a landmark day in economic development success with Continental Tire the Americas, LLC announcing $1.45 billion in new investments and 2,500 new jobs. Also in 2016, three new ship-to-shore gantry cranes valued at $30 million at the Port of Gulfport strengthen the state’s impressive infrastructure. These accolades and advancements prove Mississippi is continuously striving to reach new heights and cultivate new advantages.
Continental Tire’s decision to locate in Central Mississippi was named the No.1 economic development project in the Southeast for the winter 2016 quarter, signifying Mississippi’s leadership position in the Southern Automotive Corridor. The world’s fourth-largest tire manufacturer broke ground in Clinton, Miss., on November 3, 2016.
Photo Caption: Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, the world’s fourth-largest tire manufacturer, broke ground on the company’s newest manufacturing facility in Hinds County, Miss., in November 2016.
“Building this new facility in Mississippi is a critical part to our growth strategy for Continental Tire,” said Nikolai Setzer, a member of Continental’s executive board and head of Continental’s global tire business worldwide. “This is the first new plant, globally, for the truck tire business in more than ten years. And, at $1.4 billion, this is the largest investment ever for our CVT business. We are convinced that the state of Mississippi provides the best options for Continental to grow our tire business.”
Mississippi’s first automotive original equipment manufacturer Nissan, hit a significant milestone at the Nissan North America Canton Manufacturing Plant in Canton, Miss. The auto giant not only added a new vehicle to the production line, the Nissan Titan XD pickup truck, but also celebrated production of its three-millionth Mississippi-built vehicle.
Since its inception, Nissan was the catalyst in recruiting manufacturing companies to Mississippi. The National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center issued a report this year detailing the automaker’s economic impact – 25,000 direct and indirect jobs created and more than 6,400 Mississippians directly employed. This success exemplifies the success automakers experience with Mississippi.
“Our workforce here is a world-class workforce, among the best we have within the Nissan community,” said Scott Becker, Nissan North America’s senior vice president of administration. “One of the key reasons we located here, obviously, was the high-quality workforce as well as a very business-friendly environment and government officials who are very collaborative and understand what it takes to build this kind of world-class workforce and to grow your business.”
Photo Caption: With a workforce of 6,400 strong and the capacity to produce 450,000 vehicles a year, the Nissan North America Manufacturing Plant in Canton, Miss., continues to significantly spur the state’s economy.
The Mississippi Legislature passed the Corporate Franchise Tax phase out and the Mississippi Works Fund in the 2016 Legislative session. These two significant pieces of legislation encourage corporate competitiveness and expansion.
The Corporate Franchise Tax phase out diminishes the state’s corporate franchise tax over a ten-year period starting in 2018. The law reduces the current $2.50 tax for each $1,000 of capital by $.25 a year, with the phase out completing in 2027. The phase out also includes an exemption on the first $100,000 of capital.
The Mississippi Works Fund allocates $50 million over ten years for workforce training. The state’s highly-ranked community college system can now enhance customized training programs to more effectively meet the needs of companies. The legislation also prepares more Mississippians for in-demand careers. Seventy-five percent of the funds are allocated toward new job creation, while 25 percent of the funds are allocated for existing workforce training and workforce certification.
The Corporate Franchise Tax phase out and Mississippi Works Fund join an extensive portfolio of existing state business incentives, making Mississippi’s pro-business climate second to none. A testament to the pro-business environment is the reacquisition of Chiquita to the Port of Gulfport.
Chiquita’s new lease with the Port of Gulfport is for an initial term of 40 years, through 2056. The company will return to its previous location in the North Harbor of the port, while expanding into a new terminal, encompassing a total of 32 acres – more than double what the company previously occupied.
Chiquita’s return demonstrates the Port of Gulfport’s impressive capacity for companies with international shipping needs. Situated in a prime transportation hub, this deepwater port is one step closer to completing its “Port of the Future” restoration project with the recent addition of three gantry cranes. Each crane can operate a safe limit of up to 65 tons and work in tandem if necessary. The massive cranes handle the workload of even the largest vessels traveling through the Panama Canal. The robust infrastructure, prime location and addition of the cranes ensure the Port of Gulfport is positioned to be a major global seaport.
In 2014, Chiquita relocated shipping operations to New Orleans, following more than 40 years at the Port of Gulfport. While in New Orleans, the company maintained ripening storage operations in Mississippi. The benefits of doing business at the Port of Gulfport outweighed the benefits of their existing location, however, and the company announced the return of shipping operations to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in July 2016.
Among Mississippi’s numerous economic development wins in 2016, Raytheon announced plans to build the T-100 Integrated Air Training System, a proposed jet trainer for the U.S. Air Force, in Meridian, Miss. If the Air Force approves the company’s proposal for the Advanced Pilot Training program, Raytheon would establish a final assembly and check-out facility at a site it has chosen in Meridian.
“Our process determined that the best location for building the T-100 is Meridian,” said Rick Yuse, president of Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. “It provides the right blend of infrastructure, proximity to our customers, government support and a talent base that’s ready for the high tech jobs critical to our success.”
Raytheon has manufactured products in Mississippi for more than three decades. The company builds active electronically-scanned array radars at its facility in the city of Forest.
With a strong incentives portfolio, a business-friendly environment, low operating costs, robust infrastructure and an ever-growing skilled workforce, industry leaders from around the U.S. and around the world continue to find their competitive edge in Mississippi.
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