Resin shipping firm Plastic Express Inc. is investing $80 million in a major new distribution center in Savannah, Ga., that will create 200 new jobs.
The site will be the second in Savannah for Houston-based Plastic Express. The new project was announced in a recent news release from the office of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
Savannah "has presented a solid opportunity for investment in export logistic centers to complement the aggressive capability expansions at the port," Plastic Express President and CEO Ray Hufnagel said, adding that his firm "has experienced success" at an additional location in Pooler, Ga.
Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Pittman Fussell said as resin and industrial product producers expand their export channels, Plastic Express "recognizes the need to customize and provide resilient transportation options for our customers."
She added the Savannah site is strategically located adjacent to a CSX rail yard and within 5 miles of the port and is "the best-positioned logistic center in the region."
The new facility will be in Savannah's Rockingham Farms Industrial Park. It will cover 980,000 square feet and will include 104 dock doors and 7,200 container spots with packing lines capable of packaging 4 million pounds of resin per day. The site is expected to open in mid-2024.
Plastic Express and other shipping firms have expanded in recent years in order to handle large amounts of resin — mainly polyethylene — being exported from the U.S. PE firms have added billions of pounds of production capacity in the last decade to capitalize on low-priced, shale-based natural gas feedstock in the region.
Much of the new PE capacity has been aimed at export markets, since it far exceeds the amount needed to meet domestic demand.
In 2021, Plastic Express opened a major new rail service center in Baytown, Texas. That site covers more than 800,000 square feet and is only 12 miles from the Port of Houston. The firm also in 2022 opened warehouses in Monaca, Pa., and Charlotte, N.C.
Plastic Express was founded in 1970 by Ray (Junior) Kurtz in Orange, Calif. Its first jobs were hauling PVC pipe and fittings in the Southwestern U.S. The firm entered bulk transportation in 1975 and started packaging and warehousing work in the early 1990s.
Plastic Express now manages more than 50 rail yards, more than 4 million square feet of warehouse space and more than 30 bulk truck terminals across the U.S. The firm has more than 500 employees and more than 300 customers.