By Karen E. Thuermer, AJOTJust as Ann Durham, president, Global Vehicles U.S.A., Inc., brings the right mix of business acumen, industry experience and people skills to lead her company in the introduction of India’s Mahindra trucks to the American public, the Georgia Port Authority (GPA), with its Port of Brunswick, is also well equipped to handle the importation of the highly fuel efficient and innovative truck.
That’s why Global Vehicles U.S.A., the truck’s North American distributor and imported, selected the Port of Brunswick as its port of entry into the United States. (It didn’t hurt, too, that Brunswick is in close proximity to the company’s headquarters in Alpharetta, GA.)
Selecting the Port of Brunswick made good sense to Ms. Durham, who has been working with GPA for several years. “We have developed a great relationship with Georgia Ports Authority,” she says. “Furthermore, the Port of Brunswick has an excellent location for truck imports and a good labor force. GPA was especially aggressive and cooperative with our company as well.”
Ms. Durham points out that GPA port official did whatever they could to prove to Global Vehicles U.S.A. that they would be an excellent partner. “That was even before we had the chance to import our first vehicle!” she exclaims. “It was phenomenal.”
Ranked as the fourth-largest automobile port in the eastern United States, the Port of Brunswick, with its Colonel’s Island, is regarded one of this country’s sixth-busiest automobile ports. With the Highway 17 overpass now open and other infrastructure improvements complete, the port is ready to take on new business. To help establish a Global Vehicles U.S.A. as a customer, GPA officials offered assistance, including helping the company network in all areas of international trade.
“They invited me to talk with Commissioner Ken Stewart from the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) and the GPA to discuss ways to work together to maximize cost efficiencies and increase jobs in Georgia, both at the corporate level as well as at the port,” she says. “They offered whatever service they could so as create as cohesive and streamline of a process as possible. They also helped us so that we could increase our cost efficiencies.”
A big drawing card is the port’s flexibility that will make it possible for Global Vehicles to move the Mahindra trucks in and out of the port and to the dealerships as fast and efficiently as possible.
“GPA’s port infrastructure is so huge that their operations can be flexible,” she stresses. “They are willing to do basically whatever we need any time we need it.”
Global Vehicles U.S.A. did consider other ports up and down the East Coast, Ms. Durham admits.
“But we really liked the Port of Brunswick and the idea that we were helping to increase commerce in Georgia,” she says. “It has a ripple effect and creates jobs across the country.”
Ms. Durham particularly stresses that when the company begins using the Port of Brunswick, Global Vehicles will not have to contend with container traffic since it is a roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) port.
“Further, the port maintains an excellent relationship with WWL,” she adds. “Add to that the fact WWL has a technical processing facility there and also owns their own stevedore company, and, in our minds, it was a perfect match. WWL offered a really comprehensive portfolio of logistics services for us.”
WWL is managing the entire logistics platform for Global Vehicles from Mahindra’s factory in Mumbai to shipping the cars to the United States, preparing them for U.S. distribution, and handling all transportation for their final delivery to the end dealers.
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