New Tire Distribution Facility Locating to St. Mary Parish

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The Board of Directors for Kumho Tires Inc., a global manufacturer of 17-inch passenger and light truck tires, approved an agreement with Melis Group LLC to establish a 350,000 square foot warehouse and distribution center in St. Mary Parish. This agreement is a significant investment in St. Mary Parish’s local economy as well as enhancing Louisiana’s position in the rubber and tire market. Through a partnership with the Port of New Orleans, the nation’s top importer of natural rubber in the United States, the distribution and warehouse facility in Franklin will utilize the Port’s existing container services. Additionally, the partnership with the Port of New Orleans also signifies the recently announced public-private partnership to establish a $1.8 billion container facility, further growing Louisiana’s import and export capacity.

“We are thrilled Kumho Tire chose Louisiana for a new tire distribution facility,” said Brandy D. Christian, President and CEO Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA). “This is a testament to the work Port NOLA and our economic development partners have done to attract new imports and grow container business statewide. Kumho’s investment will also strengthen Louisiana’s position in the rubber and tire market as Port NOLA continues to be the number one importer of natural rubber in the United States.”

The state-of-the-art facility would be a multi-million-dollar investment in St. Mary Parish and will have an annual capacity of 5 million passenger and light truck tires and create upward of 200 full time jobs.

When asked about the project, Parish President David Hanagriff stated, “This is an exciting project for St. Mary Parish. With three of the nation’s largest carbon black plants located right here in St. Mary, we have worked for decades to bring a tire company to St. Mary. I am very excited for the potential that this project will bring to our community. I applaud St. Mary Economic Development for taking the lead on this effort as well as the team effort it took to get us to this point.”

The factors to secure the approval of Kumho’s board for the St. Mary expansion focused on several factors, including access to multi-modal transportation options, proximity to existing and potential markets of interest to Kumho, as well as the ability to tap into the workforce training programs of the two SLCC campuses in the parish. The largest factor influencing this decision is the proximity to three of the largest carbon black plants in the nation would allow for streamlined access to material necessary for tires.

Director of St. Mary Economic Development, Evan Boudreaux, stated “This announcement is a major win for St. Mary Parish and the State of Louisiana that was made possible only through the collaboration with our local stakeholders and economic development partners throughout the state. I am excited about what opportunities will be created through this announcement, and I emphatically welcome Kumho to St. Mary Parish.”