BMW Increases Shipping through Port of Charleston
Based on a new service agreement between the Port of Charleston and BMW Manufacturing Co., shipping of BMWs through the port will increase, officials for BMW and the S.C. State Ports Authority announced today.
“BMW has been a tremendous force for economic development across South Carolina,” said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., president and CEO of the S.C. State Ports Authority. “They and their suppliers impact every community in the state in a very positive way. BMW is a highly respected customer that the Port of Charleston is proud to serve. We look forward to many years of growth and success.”
Based on the success of the past 10-year relationship between BMW and the Port of Charleston, the decision was made to renegotiate another 10-year service agreement based on BMW’s vehicle imports and exports.
BMW entered into the original agreement in 1995 as the company was establishing a presence with its manufacturing facility in upstate South Carolina. In 1995, the Port of Charleston imported only 65 units for BMW Manufacturing Co. in Spartanburg.
According to Carl Flesher, BMW Manufacturing’s vice president of associate and corporate communications, environmental services, “Over the past 10 years, the Port of Charleston has continuously maintained professional service as our imports and exports have increased significantly to over 115,000 imported and exported vehicles in 2003. We expect to increase our annual import and export totals to more than 150,000 vehicles during the next 10 years.”
“BMW does business in more than 120 countries, and the Port of Charleston continues to be one of the most efficient and effective ports in the world. Based on our past relationship, we feel certain the Port of Charleston will be able to expand to support BMW as our market share grows,” Flesher added.
During the last decade, BMW has exported Z3, Z4 and X5 vehicles produced in Spartanburg to overseas markets, as well as imported finished vehicles through the Port of Charleston to meet the growing market demand in its 11-state southern sales region. Imports will increase in the future as BMW Manufacturing Co. expands its support of U.S. sales by now importing vehicles destined for dealerships in 22 states.
In addition to the import and export of finished vehicles, BMW also imports parts, such as engines from BMW plants in Germany and Austria and transmissions produced in Central Europe, which are used in the Spartanburg manufacturing plant. Over the last 10 years, BMW’s parts imports have increased over 100 percent, from approximately 70 containers per week in the late 1990s to more than 7,500 a year in 2003.
“The Port of Charleston’s established presence and the state-of-the-art infrastructure played a major role in attracting BMW to South Carolina, and this new agreement reconfirms the importance of the port to BMW’s success and growth,” Flesher said.
BMW Manufacturing Co. is a subsidiary of the BMW Group based in Munich, Germany. Its website address is www.bmwusfactory.com. In addition to the South Carolina manufacturing facility, BMW’s North American subsidiaries include sales, marketing and financial services operations in the United States, Canada and throughout Latin America, and a design firm in California.
The South Carolina State Ports Authority operates public seaport facilities in Charleston, Georgetown and Port Royal, handling international commerce valued at $39 billion annually. The Port of Charleston is the nation’s fourth largest container port. It is served by 40 ocean carriers that provide direct service between Charleston and 140 nations around the world.