South Carolina Is ‘Firing On All Cylinders,’ Governor Says

Leaders in The Palmetto State aim to build a ‘high-tech, diverse’ economy and increase awareness of the state’s commitment to its businesses.

By Kari Williams
From the March/April 2024 Issue

 

Since 2017, South Carolina has announced more than $36.4 billion in new investments and more than 86,000 new jobs, according to Governor Henry McMaster. The state is a “national leader” in advanced manufacturing and is making moves in the electric vehicle battery and battery manufacturing industry.

“We are firing on all cylinders,” Gov. McMaster said in his 2024 State of the State Address.

Plus, the state’s exports sales in 2023 defied the national trend, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce. The Palmetto State saw $37.3 billion in exports as national exports decreased 2.2%, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data.

South Carolina
Hilton Head, SC (Photo: Adobe Stock/Sean Pavone Photo)

 

“Other countries continue to find that South Carolina offers the best products and services available anywhere, which is emphasized by the fact that our state saw an increase in trade despite a national decline in exports,” Gov. McMaster said. “By sending locally made goods throughout the world, we can continue to create more jobs and careers for South Carolinians while helping expand our economy.”

SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said the SC Port is the eighth-largest container port in the U.S.

“We are proud to move cargo for South Carolina companies, ensuring that automakers, advanced manufacturers, farmers, and small businesses have direct access to global markets,” she said. “We consistently invest in port infrastructure and deliver excellent port service to help South Carolina companies thrive.”

“Other countries continue to find that South Carolina offers the best products and services available anywhere, which is emphasized by the fact that our state saw an increase in trade despite a national decline in exports.”

— Governor Henry McMaster

The state also drew nearly $10 billion in capital investments between January and December 2023 — the second largest total in state history, according to the Department of Commerce.

“Once again, South Carolina has proven that it is among the best places in the world to do business,” Gov. McMaster said.

In January, the Department of Commerce unveiled a new branding campaign for the state, “Launch to Legacy.”

“With a nod to the state’s heritage, an eye toward the future and a spirit of embracing innovation, the ‘Launch to Legacy’ brand positions South Carolina to carry out our vision and strategic priorities,” said South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III. “The messaging and reimagined logo reinforce our commitment to business as we continue to compete globally while building a high-tech, diverse, sustainable economy.”

Northeastern South Carolina Offers Competitive Advantage

Located halfway between Miami and New York City, northeastern South Carolina is positioned to move product up and down the east coast and to many major markets to the west. Its transportation and trade infrastructure includes more than 600 miles of state and federal highways, creating a network of efficient truck routes to the region’s two interstate highways, I-95 and I-20.

Northeastern South Carolina also is home to the South Carolina Ports Authority’s Inland Port Dillon, a rail-connected extension of the Port of Charleston, where the same services as a deep-water port are offered at a fraction of the cost and grant the region access to international markets.

South Carolina
Counties in Northeastern South Carolina have dedicated financial resources to preparing for future industrial development. As a result, many industrial properties are “shovel ready,” or even have a speculative building ready to go. (Photo: Courtesy North Eastern Strategic Alliance)

 

Along with its strategic infrastructure, South Carolina has stable and competitive property tax and state corporate income tax rates, comprehensive incentives programs, proactive utility providers, and a cooperative regulatory environment, which allows companies to focus on running their operations, reducing costs, and maximizing their bottom line.

In addition, many of the state’s regulatory agencies have a liaison dedicated to making sure that companies receive high-level help in completing the permitting process.

Employers in northeastern South Carolina have access to a well-trained and sizable labor pool of nearly 1 million within a 60-mile radius of the region’s geographic center. Supported by some of the best workforce training resources in the country, the region is home to three four-year universities, four technical colleges, an extensive public and private school system, and the South Carolina Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics—one of the nation’s Top 24 elite public high schools.

In addition, workforce development and training programs are available through ReadySC, SC Works, the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SIMT), two Horry-Georgetown Advanced Manufacturing Centers, and the Continuum.

Counties in the region have dedicated tremendous financial resources to preparing their communities for future industrial development. As a result, extensive engineering and infrastructure due diligence has been completed and many industrial properties are “shovel ready,” or even have a speculative building ready to go.

The region’s premier industrial parks are fully served with utilities already in place, many of which have access to rail. To date, the region has more than 60 industrial sites with the majority available for less than $30,000 per acre.

All these advantages make northeastern South Carolina a very attractive place to do business.

To learn more about northeastern South Carolina, reach out to North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA), a regional nonprofit economic development organization tasked with working with expanding companies to identify real estate options and to provide coordination between the many partners involved in the expansion process including utilities, permitting agencies, workforce training providers, and others.

For more information, visit nesasc.org.


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