Governor Rendell announced that the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority and Holt Logistics Corp. have come to an agreement with Hyundai Motor Co. and its logistics affiliate, Glovis of America, to import and process 150,000 Hyundai and Kia vehicles annually through the Port of Philadelphia’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal (PAMT) starting in May.

The vehicles will be processed at an auto finishing facility at Pier 98 Annex at Columbus Boulevard and Oregon Avenue by the Walt Whitman Bridge.

The much-anticipated deal – more than a year in the making—is expected to create 276 full-time job equivalencies locally, and 415 jobs throughout the region, for the work involved in unloading the vehicles and preparing them for sale. Once completed, those cars are likely to leave the facility by truck and possibly by rail. Glovis previously moved these automobiles through facilities in Newark, N.J. and Baltimore.

“This is substantial and very welcome new business for the Port of Philadelphia,” said John H. Estey, Chairman of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority. “Our current projections indicate that 100 new vessels a year will result from this business, as well as a big increase in trucking and rail activity. Glovis’ move to the Port of Philadelphia will be felt throughout the city and region in a big way.”

“This is a great day for the Port of Philadelphia,” said Thomas J. Holt, Jr., Chairman of Holt Logistics Corp., the leasehold company which leases PAMT under a long-term lease with the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority. “We are very excited about imported automobile services returning to the Philadelphia waterfront. It has been more than a decade since the Port has handled shipments of new autos, and the new business represents a major step forward for Packer Avenue Marine Terminal and the Port of Philadelphia.”

“It will be wonderful to see automobile cargoes once more arriving in Philadelphia,” said PRPA Executive Director James T. McDermott, Jr. “We have the facilities and the experience to expertly handle auto imports, and truly look forward to a long, mutually-productive relationship between the Port and Glovis.” 

This announcement follows an October 2009 agreement between PRPA and Philly Ro-Ro Partners for the latter to operate PRPA’s 85-acre automobile processing facility at Pier 98 Annex in South Philadelphia. PRPA issued requests-for-proposals for the facility in March 2009.

Once the preliminary agreement was in place in October, Philly Ro-Ro Partners began working with PRPA and the regional port community to address improvements to the facility, permits, and various logistics details with Glovis. All those details have now been addressed.

PRPA will make up to $1 million in capital improvements to the Pier 98 Annex facility and Philly Ro-Ro Partners will contribute $3.7 million in improvements, turning a well-equipped automobile-handling facility into one that is state-of-the-art.

Hyundai Motor Co. has drawn much positive press in recent months for the quality of its cars, as well as a larger domestic market share – from 4.8 percent in 2007 to 7.1 percent in 2009.

Hyundai distributes automobiles to almost 800 dealerships throughout the United States. Initially known for its dependable economy vehicles, Hyundai has made dramatic inroads in the family and luxury car markets in recent years. In a 2010 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) by J.D. Powers and Associates, Hyundai moved up four places from its already impressive 2009 ranking.

“Quality is our number one priority and customers have come to expect that Hyundai vehicles will measure up to the best in the industry,” said Frank Ferrara, executive vice president, corporate planning and customer satisfaction, upon release of the J.D. Powers study. “Hyundai backs its cars with a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty to signal our partnership with buyers in their vehicle purchase. We aim to raise the bar for the industry not only in quality off the showroom floor, but after years of driving, as well.”

“We look forward to a mut