Tire recycler, manufacturer announces move to Berkeley County
By Matt Tomsic
Published June 29, 2011
Access to an existing facility, workforce training programs and nearby ports pushed a tire recycling company to move its operations from China to Moncks Corner, the company’s chief financial officer said.
Tire International will close its existing plant in China and move its headquarters and operations to Moncks Corner, said Marty Sergi, the company’s CFO.
The company processes tires then creates products from the rubber, fiber and steel. Sergi said the Moncks Corner facility will manufacture rubber pavers and other products while also processing local tires. The company will also import processed tires from its other plants.
Tire International decided to move from China because its supply chain had become inefficient, Sergi said.
“China is actually short tires; they’re short raw materials,” Sergi said. “They’ve actually been importing from the U.S. and Canada scrap tires.”
Once the scrap tires got to China, the company manufactured them and shipped them back to American customers.
Sergi said the company evaluated the process and decided to look for another location. Tire International studied Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and South Carolina. In Moncks Corner, it found an existing tire recycler, called Energy City Tire Recycling, which had extra space to handle more manufacturing.
“They have some of the tire flow there,” Sergi said. “But much more importantly, a lot of the infrastructure is in place.”
The existing operation and infrastructure, coupled with ports in Georgetown and Charleston pushed the company toward South Carolina, he said.
And the S.C. Department of Commerce helped close the deal.
“They sort of put us over the top,” Sergi said, adding that the department said it would help with job training and hiring through the readySC workforce training program. “They helped us in such a way that we were pretty convinced to move the whole operation.”
Tire International decided to join with Energy City Tire Recycling and bought the land and building in Moncks Corner. Ten employees are working now, and the company is moving its equipment from China to Berkeley County.
Sergi said the company will be operational by the end of the year. It’s spending $25 million on the facility and plans to hire 150 employees.
Sergi said Tire International’s move from China is an interesting trend that he sees increasing. Labor rates in developing countries are starting to rise along with prices of the fuel used to get raw materials to and from manufacturing plants overseas, he said.
“It’s an interesting phenomenon,” Sergi said. “The pendulum is starting to swing back to the U.S, where, in places like South Carolina, we can be competitive.”