Business, Finance & Economics

Caterpillar to build new plant in Georgia


Caterpillar 2009 Challenger MT765C farm tractors sit on on the docks of the Port of Baltimore's Dundalk Terminal in Baltimore, Md., waiting to be loaded onto ships for export, on Aug. 27, 2009.



Georgia has beaten out North Carolina and other states to become the site of a new $200 million Caterpillar Inc. manufacturing facility, Gov. Nathan Deal and Caterpillar officials announced today.

Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar is the world’s largest construction and mining equipment manufacturer, and the one-million-square-foot plant will produce small tractors and excavators, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. Work at the new plant will include major fabrications, paint and final assembly, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The factory, near Athens, Ga., will hire 800 workers initially, growing to a total of 1,400 workers by 2020, Deal said at a press conference at the Georgia Capitol, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Caterpillar officials said the factory will also support an additional 2,800 jobs at suppliers in the US, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Caterpillar’s search for a new facility was fueled largely by a strategic decision to shift production from Japan to a site closer to its large base of customers in North America and Europe, the company said in a statement last fall. The machines are currently made at Caterpillar’s facility in Sagami, Japan.

More from GlobalPost: Caterpillar moving factory from Japan to North America

"The Athens site was selected from among dozens of locations considered due to its proximity to the major ports of Savannah and Charleston, a strong regional base of potential suppliers, a positive and pro-active business climate and a good pool of potential employees with manufacturing experience," Mary Bell, vice president of Caterpillar's Building Construction Products division, said at the press conference today, the Associated Press reported.

It’s not the only recent example of Caterpillar pulling up stakes and moving production across state or national borders in search of optimal business conditions.

On Feb. 3, days after Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed an anti-union, right-to-work bill into law, Caterpillar announced that it would move its Electro-Motive Diesel locomotive plant in London, Ontario, Canada, to Muncie, Ind., the Toronto Star reported. In Canada, Caterpillar had been battling 450 unionized workers who refused to accept a 50 percent pay cut.

More from GlobalPost: Right to work law passed in Indiana over union dues