In 2020, two significant rail-served employers announced they would be building manufacturing facilities in North Carolina – a total capital investment of nearly $800 million by the companies. In 2021, these partnership opportunities continue to grow as more manufacturing companies choose North Carolina to grow their facilities.
The North Carolina-based manufacturer and distributor of cast iron and plastic pipe fittings has seven production facilities across the U.S. Charlotte Pipe and Foundry will invest a minimum of $325 million to construct a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at a site in Oakboro. The company will continue to employ 1,050 in Mecklenburg, Union, and Stanly counties, with 400 of those employees relocating to the new Oakboro, NC facility.
The North Carolina Railroad Company (NCRR) is investing approximately $1.5 million to assist Charlotte Pipe and Foundry with the construction of a railroad industrial lead track as well as related infrastructure required for the company’s operations. The plant will be served by the Aberdeen, Carolina and Western Railroad, which offers access to both Norfolk Southern and CSX.
NCRR is also one of several partners that assisted in the recruitment of Nestlè Purina Petcare Company (Purina). Purina decided to take advantage of an abundant local manufacturing workforce and will repurpose a former Miller-Coors manufacturing facility in Rockingham County. Purina will make an investment of at least $450 million and create 300 jobs. Purina requires freight rail service at the new facility. NCRR is investing approximately $1.9 million in a partnership with Class I freight provider Norfolk Southern to return an existing rail line to service, which will re-establish the Eden-area’s connection to rail networks throughout North America. Restoration of service also creates the opportunity for companies located along the line to take advantage of this restored rail service and connects available industrial land sites to rail, enabling them to be marketed to rail-served manufacturers.
“These two investments are the result of strong partnerships,” says NCRR President and CEO, Carl Warren. “With Charlotte Pipe, we helped keep a North Carolina company in the state with the right freight rail infrastructure at a great new site. Aligning the company with short line ACWR is good for a homegrown short line and it gives the customer the option of using both CSX and NS, enhancing its sourcing options for rail transportation.”
“The recruitment of an employer like Nestlè Purina is also a considerable victory for our State and Rockingham County. To help bring new life to the Miller-Coors site and put more sites back into play with rail in Rockingham County with restored rail access during a pandemic is significant. These projects required collaboration at all levels, and NCRR is proud to be a part of the picture.”
In 2021, opportunities to support manufacturing companies investing in North Carolina have continued – Liberty Storage Solutions and Red Bull, Rauch, and Ball Corporation will require rail service at their newly-developed sites and are partnering with NCRR to do so strategically.
Liberty Storage Solutions, a storage shed manufacturer and distributor, is expanding their production facility in Davie County to include metal components, carports, barns and tiny houses, as well as opening the site to transload opportunities with their other facilities across the state. This expansion is an $8 million investment by Liberty Storage Solutions and will result in the retention of 45 existing jobs and the creation of 50 additional jobs.
NCRR is investing $350,000 to assist in the construction of a new rail spur that will serve the Davie County facility, located in Mocksville, and allow for Class I freight service by Norfolk Southern.
“With this strategic investment, we are increasing the value of this manufacturing facility by making it a rail-served site,” says Warren. “These jobs are incredibly important to Davie County and the Mocksville community, and we are excited to be one of many partners involved in the expansion of this North Carolina-based company.”
In a three-company venture, Red Bull, Rauch and Ball Corporation plan to construct a new, state-of-the-art, two million square-foot beverage manufacturing campus at the Grounds at Concord in Cabarrus County. As the largest economic development announcement in Cabarrus County’s history, the companies’ $900 million capital investment will result in the creation of 633 new jobs.
NCRR is investing $700,000 to assist in the rehabilitation of a lead track that will connect to the North Carolina Railroad and be served by Norfolk Southern.
“We are excited to welcome Red Bull, Rauch and Ball Corporation as new customers on the North Carolina Railroad and we commend their transformative vision for the conversion of the site from a former cigarette manufacturing plant to the production location of a next generation consumer product,” adds Warren. “The new beverage manufacturing operations will result in a substantial increase in the number of railcars on the NCRR line each year and will be a significant boost to the area economy.”