Dixie Is Whistling - Global Trade Magazine
  December 18th, 2015 | Written by

Dixie Is Whistling

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  • How Southeastern States Are Growing #Overseas Sales With The Help Of #CommercialServices

As the global marketplace continues to open up, more and more companies located in America’s Southeast are exploring export opportunities for their products and services.

What follows are key export data about these states, plus examples of recent export successes by companies partnering with the Commerce Department’s U.S. Commercial Service (CS) and/or its network of 100-plus U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEAC).

In 2014, the state exported $19.4 billion in merchandise, and its exports of goods alone supported 95,258 U.S. jobs.

Alignment Simple Solutions was created to provide the business model behind the QuickTrick Alignment system that lets people check their own auto alignment with no special training via portable, affordable wheel alignment products. Ninety-five percent of the components are made in the USA. Within its first week of business the firm had made two international sales (Mexico and Japan), and now exports to more than 100 countries. Alignment is working on finalizing business deals in Norway, Netherlands, Colombia and the UK.

To increase sales in the global marketplace, Alignment is working with CS, the Alabama International Trade Center, Small Business Association (SBA), and Alabama Department of Commerce in the State Trade Export Program (STEP) and USPS international products. The majority of new customers are generated from the company’s website, which is search engine optimized in 10 different languages.

Since 2010, exports have increased steadily and now make up 15 percent of overall sales. The company was nominated for SBA’s Exporter of the Year award in 2013 and is now involved in the inaugural SBA Emerging Leaders class in Alabama.

In 2014 the state exported $58.5 billion in merchandise, and its exports of goods alone supported 270,473 U.S. jobs.

Global Used Truck Sales LLC of Tampa sells used heavy-, medium- and light-duty trucks and semi-tractors. These vehicles transport everything from general dry goods and agricultural products to general freight, construction materials, bulk items and heavy machinery. The firm approached the CS office in Clearwater and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Tampa to learn more about exporting and expanding sales into Africa.

CS Clearwater coordinated with CS staff in Nigeria to organize an outreach event for then-U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Terence McCulley and senior commercial officer Rebecca Armand during their “Doing Business in Africa” tour through the southeastern United States in December 2012. Global participated in the event, which provided an overview of the Nigerian marketplace and opportunities for sales of used trucks. The company then began actively seeking buyers in Nigeria, which now is a target market accounting for more than $100,000 in sales. The firm continues to pursue business in additional African countries, and reports annual revenue of roughly $1.5 million, with exports representing about 10 percent of total sales.

In 2014, the state exported $39.4 billion in merchandise, and its exports of goods alone supported 209,071 U.S. jobs.

Albany-based SASCO Chemical sells anti-tack chemicals that mitigate the stickiness rubber products can have during manufacturing. The firm’s primary target market is automobile tire manufacturers.

Starting in 2011, the Savannah USEAC office began helping the firm penetrate tire operations in individual Latin American markets. To develop new business in Europe, CS trade specialists in Savannah provided SASCO with pre-screened lists and International Partner Searches (IPS) of rubber products manufacturers. In 2012 and 2013, SASCO initiated distribution in Central and South America, Europe and Israel, while CS-sponsored seminars on export regulations and finance helped SASCO negotiate the infrastructure of these global markets.

By 2014, SASCO was selling to customers in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Spain and the UK. The firm recently created six new full-time positions and reports that exports account for a growing percentage of overall sales.

In 2014, the state exported $11.5 billion in merchandise, and its exports of goods alone supported 51,892 U.S. jobs.

Flathau’s Fine Foods, a family owned business in Hattiesburg, bakes tasty sweets for die-hard customers in America as well as many other foreign markets worldwide. Exports are critical to the company’s success, as about 25 percent of Flathau’s annual total sales come from exports, and five employees’ jobs are directly supported by trade.
‘The USEAC office in Jackson has been working with the company since 2007 by providing critical market research, logistical solutions, answers to export-related questions, guidance on product packaging issues and other long-term support activities.

In 2014, the state exported $31.4 billion in merchandise, and its exports of goods alone supported 164,023 U.S. jobs.

Durham-based Organic Transit manufactures a solar-assist bike called ELF. Soon after its founding, the firm began receiving inquiries and orders from international customers. However, the company encountered many challenges fulfilling orders and complying with international regulations for some of those shipments. For help, Organic Transit met with specialists at the USEAC office in Raleigh, where colleagues overseas were enlisted to help the firm complete a shipment to Australia that customs officials had rerouted to Thailand. It later received counseling and training on complying with local trade regulations and calculating tariff rates. Organic Transit also met with CS colleagues in Europe, the company’s primary market of interest.

By March 2015, Organic Transit had sold ELF bikes in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Fiji, Mexico, the Netherlands and New Zealand. These sales represent about 10 percent of its total sales. The company expects dramatic growth in international sales in the future.

In 2014, the state exported $29.6 billion in merchandise, and its exports of goods alone supported 153,816 U.S. jobs.

Founded by Samuel Carbis, designer of the first aluminum fire ladder in 1930, the Sam Carbis Solutions Group, LLC is based in rural Florence. The firm has remained exclusively dedicated to designing, building and installing equipment and structures that ensure safe access and fall prevention for workers worldwide. As a result, it is the global leader in customized bulk loading access equipment and turnkey systems for truck, rail and marine applications across all industries.

Carbis has worked closely with the USEAC in Charleston and the Ex-Im Bank to establish a strong international presence. Since it began working with trade specialists, Carbis has increased its year-over-year export sales and continues to actively develop other markets with the help of export counseling, market research, business matchmaking, trade shows, etc. The firm currently sells to about a dozen markets, with particularly strong success in Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Korea.

In 2014, the state exported $32.9 billion in merchandise, and its exports of goods alone supported 158,913 U.S. jobs.

Lodge Manufacturing Co. of rural South Pittsburg makes cast-iron cookware at its family owned, gray-iron foundry. The company, established in 1896, is now the largest U.S. producer of cast-iron cookware and exports to more than 50 nations. Exports directly support about 5 percent of the company’s 279 employees at its headquarters. In 2014, export revenue totaled $4.4 million, accounting for about 6 percent of total sales. The company is a recipient of this year’s Presidential “E” Award for Exports, America’s top honor for exporters.

Lodge recognizes benefits from free trade agreements, particularly in Canada and Mexico, and sells to other top destinations such as Russia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany and Israel.

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) began working with Lodge in 2001 and has since assisted with exports to 13 new markets. During the last four years, DOC representatives have provided country and sector market research, as well as guidance on logistics, sanctions, labeling standards, intellectual property rights, legal issues and more. CS Nashville has assisted in arranging meetings for the company with overseas U.S. Embassy personnel, too. As a result of increased sales, Lodge began production in November of last year on its $30 million plant expansion and hired 29 new employees.