News story

NMHG gains trade zone designation in Alabama

Thursday, 13 December 2007 ( #340 ) - SULLIGENT, AL, United States
The Sulligent, Alabama plant of Nacco Materials Handling Group Inc (NMHG) has gained access to a foreign-trade zone (FTZ) that may allow, among other things, a reduction or elimination of certain duties. The site makes transmission and drive-axle components for forklifts and soon will produce higher volumes. The designation "allows us to globally source components" and "will help us be more competitive on a global basis with what we manufacture there," says Greg Dawe, vice president for special projects with NMHG's Americas Division in Greenville, North Carolina. NMHG has worked since spring to obtain the subzone designation, which the US board for FTZs granted on December 7. The board reports to the US Commerce and Treasury departments. NMHG works with other FTZs. The Louisville and Jefferson County Riverport Authority's zone benefits NMHG's Berea, Kentucky plant, and the North Carolina Global TransPark Authority's zone includes NMHG's Greenville operation. Unrelated to the FTZ designation, the Sulligent factory is expected during 2008 to absorb transmission and drive axle work now being done at NMHG's Craigavon, Northern Ireland facility. The Craigavon site will utilise freed-up space for other manufacturing tasks. NMHG intends to invest about USD5 million for more equipment and tooling in Sulligent, Dawe says. Existing physical space is sufficient to accommodate the additional work. The Sulligent plant employs around 490 and anticipates gradually adding at least 30 people during the 2008 ramp-up of operations, Dawe says. NMHG, which markets lift trucks under the Hyster, Yale and Sumitomo-Yale brands, is a business of Nacco Industries Inc of Mayfield Heights, Ohio. In October, Nacco said it expected "to reduce purchases of high cost euro- and British pound sterling-denominated materials and components, reduce freight costs, lessen NMHG's exposure to future currency exchange rate fluctuations, reduce the manufacturing footprint of NMHG Wholesale's European manufacturing locations and provide additional opportunities to source components from lower-cost countries." Moving some Craigavon work to Sulligent is part of the restructuring.