Tire plants to create 800 jobs
BY COREY DAVIS
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
TARBORO — A historic milestone was made Tuesday in the Twin Counties.
State officials said Triangle Tire Co., one of the largest Chinese tiremakers, has made the largest ever manufacturing investment in rural North Carolina with the announcement of nearly $580 million in investment and the creation of 800 jobs coming to Edgecombe County by 2023 at the 1,449-acre Kingsboro megasite.
Triangle Group Co. Chairman Ding Yuhua said the factors that persuaded the company to come to the Twin Counties after a comprehensive search for potential sites included the megasite’s strategic location in the heart of the Eastern Seaboard, just off U.S. 64 and 10 minutes east of Interstate 95, the quality of the local workforce and the warm welcome from state and local officials.
“This significant investment will play a key role in Triangle Tire’s growth strategy worldwide and represents a strong commitment to our customers in North America,” Ding said. “We want to thank Governor (Roy) Cooper and his team for all of their work in making this happen. We are excited to be coming to Edgecombe County.”
The announcement of Triangle Tire’s building its first two manufacturing facilities outside of China in the United States was made in front of a large crowd of local and state officials at Keihin Auditorium at Edgecombe Community College in Tarboro.
Company officials said the two plants will be built in phases. The first phase, which will be for a facility that will make tires for passenger vehicles, will begin construction in the second half of 2019 and be fully operational by 2020.
The second plant, which will make tires for commercial vehicles, should be fully operational in 2022. The two plants are expected to produce six million tires annually. State officials said Triangle Tire Co. could get up to $152 million in incentives.
Triangle Tire Co. will receive $66 million in state incentives and $86 million from Edgecombe County. The project is estimated to contribute more than $2.4 billion to North Carolina’s economy. The Edgecombe County operation is expected to pay an average wage of $56,450, which is almost double the average wage of $32,642 in Edgecombe County.
Cooper said the state has made it a priority to put together a rural economic development initiative to urge companies to come to rural areas in North Carolina like Edgecombe County.
“This is an exciting day for North Carolina, but particulary rural North Carolina,” Cooper said. “We know the rural areas need these jobs. This shows that top companies will locate top-paying jobs in rural areas as long as we provide them with the support and the highly-skilled workforce they need to get the job done.”
Triangle Tire has been in operation for more than 40 years and is based in the Shandong Province of China. Company officials said Triangle has concentrated on tire technology innovation, manufacturing and the global tire market.
The company owns a state-certified enterprise technology development center, a state-level industrial design center and a postdoctoral scientific research station platform. Currently, Triangle’s annual manufacturing capacity is more than 22 million tires and the company’s products have been exported to more than 180 countries.
In the past two weeks, Edgecombe County has been the center of two major economic development projects in the state. New York-based Corning Inc., a leading innovator in materials science, will be investing $86 million in the county to build a state-of-the-art global distribution center that will create 111 jobs.
“When you’re announcing a poject like Corning and Triangle, what you’re announcing is hope,” said Norris Tolson, president and CEO of the Carolinas Gateway Partnership. “Both of these are going to provide really good jobs for people in the county and surrounding counties as well.”
N.C. Rep. Shelly Willingham, D-Edgecombe, said he is extremely excited for the county that has suffered with one of the highest unemployment rates in the state and is still recovering from the devastating flooding associated with Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
“This is a great morale boost, and the people of Edgecombe County are ready to take on this opportunity with Triangle Tire,” Willingham said. “We’re committed to working with Triangle Tire and getting people the training they need to make this project a great success.”
Cooper said state officials and local economic developers are still in negotiations with CSX on whether the company will go forward will plans to build the intermodal facility. Construction of the planned Carolina Connector, a trains-to-truck terminal on U.S. 301 across from N.C. Wesleyan College, was set to begin next month.
Once operational, the hub would provide more than 300 direct, long-term jobs with average annual salaries of more than $60,000. Over time, the hub was expected to produce more than 1,500 jobs statewide, while attracting new businesses to the area and pumping an estimated $125 million into the state economy.
Tolson said Triangle Tire Co. is committed to coming to the Twin Counties no matter what happens to the CSX project.
“We discussed the CSX project during the recruitment phrase, but they understand what is happening with CSX,” he said. “Yes, it will benefit from the CSX project, if it winds up here. But it’s not dependent on the CSX project.”