The first major machinery for Kia Motors’ West Point manufacturing plant expansion arrived in the United States recently when the ship M/V Chongming Voyage 90 coasted into the Port of Savannah carrying state of the art automobile-making equipment. The shipment left Pyeongtaek, Korea March 11th and has since navigated across the Pacific Ocean, through the Panama Canal, around the Gulf of Mexico and up the coast to the Port of Savannah.
Once the equipment is unloaded from the ship, it will be transported 300 miles from the Port of Savannah to Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG). Some pieces of the stamping press weigh up to 170 tons and require special arrangements for their transportation across Georgia. A fleet of trucks that include dual-lane trailers and 19-axle trucks will be utilized for the largest pieces of the press. Upon arrival, the equipment will be assembled by its manufacturer, Hyundai Rotem, into a 5400 ton transfer press which will stamp steel into 17 different types of vehicle body panels, including hoods, doors and fenders.
“The arrival of these presses marks another huge step for Kia as we continue to grow and expand our operations,” said Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO of Kia Motors America (KMA) and KMMG.
“The arrival of this new equipment is a fine example of Georgia’s commitment to supporting existing industry for growth,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “Georgia is a place where a global company like Kia can get the resources it needs to grow. From providing Quick Start’s workforce training to strengthening its ports and highways, Georgia gets it done.”
The expansion at KMMG is necessary to deliver increased volume. Since the 2011 Sorento hit the market, it has led the way in Kia sales in the U.S. Last month, KMA reported record March sales of more than 44,000 units – a 44.7 percent increase from March 2010. This historic result beat our previous record by 10 percent. Sorento led March sales with more than 11,000 units sold.
“Due to our success we will hire as many 1,000 additional team members throughout 2011 to produce top quality vehicles adding strength to the U.S. economy. We expect the number of jobs created by KMMG and suppliers will amount to more than 10,000,” said Randy Jackson, KMMG’s director of human resources and administration.
KMMG appreciates the continued support of various agencies for making this achievement possible. The Georgia Ports Authority’s capabilities for receiving and handling such large cargo, combined with the Georgia Department of Transportation’s engineering expertise for determining a secure route and monitoring safety requirements enable the equipment to make the final leg of its journey. Quick Start, Georgia’s workforce training program which is part of the Technical College System of Georgia, helps ensure Kia’s newest team members are prepared to operate and maintain the equipment.
“I want to congratulate KMMG on the historic milestone represented by the arrival of these new presses,” said Curtis Foltz, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. “We’ve been privileged to be able to support KMMG’s team over the past few years as they’ve achieved this unprecedented success. In just three years, KMMG has grown to become one of the top 10 customers at the Port of Savannah thanks to the quality and popularity of its vehicles made right here in Georgia.”