Georgia Business Briefs - July 29, 2014

Savannah port sets tonnage record in FY 2014

Savannah port sets tonnage record

SAVANNAH — The Georgia Ports Authority moved more than 29 million tons of cargo, 3 million 10-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) and more than 700,000 auto and machinery units in Fiscal Year 2014, which ended June 30.

The authority reported that the Port of Savannah handled a record 3.14 million TEUs in FY14, up by 6.3 percent or 186,567 TEUs compared to the previous year. It was the first time for the port to move more than 3 million TEUs in a fiscal year. The added volume contributed to a record year in total tonnage. In the 12 months ending June 30, GPA moved 29.4 million tons of freight, up by 8 percent or 2.17 million tons.

“Our ports support a broad range of industries, ranging from forestry and food production to auto manufacturing and retail,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “The additional cargo attracted to Georgia in FY14 speaks to the powerful and growing impact Georgia’s ports have on the state and region.”

In roll-on/roll-off cargo, the Port of Brunswick’s dedicated auto and machinery terminal moved 674,327 units in FY14. Savannah’s Ocean Terminal added another 26,375 for a record total of 700,702 units. GPA Ro/Ro cargo improved by 63,760 units or 10 percent on the year. Breakbulk cargo saw a gain of 5.2 percent in FY14, growing by 129,861 tons to reach 2.63 million tons. Meanwhile, bulk cargo expanded by 8.4 percent, or 212,086 tons, to reach 2.73 million tons of agricultural and other bulk goods moved across GPA docks.

Wawona recalling peaches, nectarines

ATLANTA — Wawona Packing Co., of Cutler, Calif., is voluntarily recalling certain lots of whole peaches (white and yellow), nectarines (white and yellow), plums and pluots packed between June 1 and July 12 because of the potential that the products are contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the Georgia Department of Agriculture announced Monday.

Wawona Packing has notified retailers of the specific lots being recalled. No other products are impacted by this recall. No illnesses have been linked to this recall to date, officials said. No illnesses were known to have been associated with the products as of Monday.

Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The recalled products were shipped directly to retailers and wholesalers who resell the products. Because officials with Wawona do not the locations of the companies that purchased the products from its direct customers, the company is issuing a nationwide recall. Wawova officials say anyone who has the recalled products should not consume them and should discard them. Consumers with questions may contact Wawona Packing 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays at 1 (888) 232-9912 or visit www.wawonapacking.com.

Latvian manufacturer bringing Georgia jobs

ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal announced Monday that Valmiera Glass, a Latvian-based manufacturer of fiberglass products, will locate at Dublin, creating 150 jobs and investing $20 million within five years in its first U.S.-based headquarters and manufacturing facility.

“It is no surprise that Valmiera Glass would select Georgia for its first U.S. headquarters,” Deal said. “This project represents the first substantial investment from the former Soviet Union, which underscores the fact that Georgia’s thriving automotive and aerospace industries are gaining attention in the international marketplace. Valmiera Glass will set the stage for other companies in that region to locate to Georgia.”

Valmiera will locate on 40 acres in an industrial park on Interstate Highway16 in Dublin. The approximately 80,000-square-foot facility will manufacture fiberglass products for the North American market, heavily utilizing the Port of Savannah. Because its manufacturing process is highly automated, Deal’s office said, the newly created jobs will be well paid and will require well-trained candidates. Valmiera Glass will also take advantage of QuickStart, Georgia’s top-ranked workforce training program.

“The new manufacturing facility in the United States is a customer-oriented business development step,” said Andre Heinz Schwiontek, board member and vice president of Valmiera Glass Group Joint-Stock company Valmieras stikla šķiedra. “Valmiera Glass Group sales increase in North America every year with 14 percent of the total turnover of the company exported directly to the United States and Canada. Now we will have the ability to efficiently reach our current customers and grow our customer base. This manufacturing facility will provide new opportunities and strengthen Valmiera Glass Group’s position in the global marketplace.”

As a global partner to industries such as aerospace, oil and gas, automotive and others, Valmiera Glass offers a range of products including fiber production, processing and the coating of textile fiberglass structures.