South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford recently signed into law a bill offering tax incentives to distribution centers and other companies that increase their international shipments through the state’s ports.
The “International Trade Incentive Program” provides tax incentives to companies increasing cargo volume through port facilities in the state. The program is geared toward drawing distribution centers and other international shippers, while also rewarding existing companies for expanding within the state.
“This legislation puts our state on a level playing field with neighboring states of Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia which already offer similar incentives and have successfully attracted distribution centers,” said Gov. Sanford. “We’ve had an improved track record on that front the past few years whether it’s Walgreens in Anderson or Dollar General in Union, but obviously our goal as an administration is to continue expanding that competitive advantage.”
Companies meeting the requirements may earn jobs tax credits of up to $1,500 per job or an investment tax credit up to six percent. Importers and exporters which increase throughput by at least five percent over 2005 volumes are eligible for the incentive. Base year cargo volume must be at least 75 net tons of non-containerized cargo or 10 loaded twenty-foot containers. The base year will be reassessed every 10 years.
In South Carolina, more than 50 retailers and manufacturers currently operate distribution centers, and well over 700 companies have manufacturing operations that ship internationally.
The new incentive is the result of a collaborative effort by the Charleston maritime community, the Charleston Metro Chamber, major manufacturers and economic development groups from across the state.
“This new tax credit will spur further development of DCs and manufacturing operations in Charleston, the Orangeburg/I-95 corridor, the Upstate and every region of South Carolina,” said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., president and chief executive officer of the South Carolina State Ports Authority.
Attendance at the bill signing ceremony shows the statewide support for international trade growth in South Carolina. Tim Dangerfield, state Department of Commerce chief of staff, was joined by the heads of various organizations, including the Upstate Alliance, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina World Trade Center, Maritime Association, Propeller Club, Charleston Regional Development Alliance, State Ports Authority and others.