SAVANNAH, Ga.–The Georgia Ports Authority has won new import business from Honda. The 2015 Honda Fit, built at the carmaker’s new plant in Celaya, Mexico, is moving into the US through the Port of Brunswick. International Auto Processing (IAP) will handle the cars upon arrival, said a port release.
“Highlighting the truly global nature of auto manufacturing, a Japanese company building cars in Mexico has chosen Georgia’s deepwater ports as a vital gateway to the U.S.,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “These shipments will serve dealers in major markets across the Southeast.”
While Honda has been exporting U.S.-made vehicles through Brunswick, this is the first time Honda imports will move through the GPA. Honda will also deliver the 2015 Fit to East Coast markets through Davisville, R.I., and Baltimore, Md.
Dennis Manns, American Honda’s assistant vice president for sales and logistics planning, said the company is the first automotive manufacturer that has created a multi-faceted approach of distribution from Mexico to the U.S., including both rail and short sea.
“The use of short sea provides Honda with an alternative to ensure a high quality and consistent level of service to our dealers,” Manns said. The Honda de Mexico team and American Honda have been collaborating closely to ensure a smooth launch and service to U.S. markets, he added.
GPA Board Chairman Robert Jepson welcomed the new import business from Honda. “The Port of Brunswick is strategically located to best serve the Southeast,” Jepson said. “And because we have another 900 acres permitted for expansion, we can easily accommodate new business in the roll-on/roll-off market without congestion worries.”
The import Hondas will reach Brunswick via Mitsui O.S.K. Bulk Shipping. International Auto Processing President and CEO Robert Miller said because Honda accessorizes its vehicles for each of its markets at the manufacturing plant, IAP’s main responsibility will be speeding the shipments along.
“Our job at IAP is to expedite those vehicles through our facility and get them to the truckers who will complete the last leg of the journey,” Miller said. “We will be using around 10 acres for these vehicles. The impact on employment has yet to be determined, but we’re thinking an additional 10 to 15 workers will be needed.”
“American Honda has been working for quite some time with the HDM team to make sure the planning and operations of each group is prepared to efficiently and effectively manage this new piece of business,” Manns said. “One of the key factors that has been duplicated with this sharing of resources is the implementation of Honda’s yard management system. Going forward, this will assist both teams to maximize efforts in managing the shared inventory.”