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Successful distribution operations rely on unparalleled access to transportation. On that front, Dorchester County truly delivers. Companies doing business here can take advantage of quick and easy access to the Port of Charleston, cited by customers as the most efficient port in North America. Companies can also benefit from other modes of transportation, such as rail, a growing international airport, and multiple interstates including I-26 and I-95, which connect the Southeast and beyond. With endless transportation advantages to accommodate distribution companies of all sizes, come discover why more than 60 distributors consider Dorchester County and the Charleston Region a great location for a successful business.

Industry Spotlight: ECMD

With North Carolina roots, ECMD was established over 30 years ago as a distributor of finely crafted millwork for use by homebuilders, architects, homeowners, and consumers. In 2004, the company chose to locate a facility in Dorchester County to manufacture and distribute millwork and building products to pro dealers and home centers that include vinyl and wooden window assemblies, as well as wooden door mouldings. Having earned a reputation as a company with efficient logistics and broad product lines, ECMD's network of companies also offers services including retail supply chain management, retail merchandising, and support services.

Attractive Assets

  • An abundance of sites with access to interstates and highways
  • Multiple modes of transportation including I-26 and I-95
  • Less than a 30-minute drive to the Port of Charleston
  • A growing workforce to meet the needs of the distribution industry
  • Low business costs to strengthen your bottom line

Transportation Advantages

With a strategic combination of transportation modes, Dorchester County can meet your company's specific distribution needs. Whether by sea, land, or air – Dorchester County has it all.

  • By Sea – All terminals at the Port of Charleston are within two miles of interstate highway access.
    • The Port offers the following reasons and competitive advantages that businesses need to succeed:
      • Ranked first in customer satisfaction by readers of World Trade
      • Closer terminals to the open sea than any competing port
      • Uses Orion computer system to expedite cargo clearance
      • Dual rail access is available at the Port's North Charleston terminal
    • With several sites in Dorchester County and the Charleston Region, Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) 21 is easily accessible from Charleston's Port that provides the following benefits:
      • Reduction or elimination of Customs duties
      • Deferral of duty payment until the time of delivery of the final product into U.S. Commerce
      • Increased efficiency because Customs can be bypassed through direct delivery
      • Foreign goods and domestic goods held for export are exempt from state/local inventory taxes
  • By Land – From the Port of Charleston, companies have their choice of 130 truck lines and 150 motor freight lines offering local, long haul, and specialty motor freight services. In fact, 75% of the cargo that comes in to the Port continues its journey by truck. Additionally, the presence of the Port helps bolster the rail network in the Charleston Region. With the growth of intermodal shipping, rail service is increasingly important in the transfer of goods nationally. Dorchester County is served by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern.
  • By Air – The Charleston International Airport has six airlines, more than 100 daily flights, and non-stop service to 13 major airports. In addition to the Charleston Region's general aviation facilities, companies have access to Dorchester County's two executive airports for private and business flyers.

Training Opportunities & Education

As the area's top resource for workforce training needs, Trident Technical College (TTC) offers employers the opportunity to build and grow their workforce through specialized trainings. Distribution companies can benefit from TTC's newest facility, Dorchester County QuickJobs Training Center in St. George, offering logistics courses that include topics, such as warehousing, shipping operations, and computer introduction.

Through readySC, qualifying distribution companies that are relocating to or expanding in South Carolina can take advantage of custom-designed workforce recruiting and training solutions at minimal or no cost.

Fast Facts

  • Over the next five years, the distribution industry is expected to experience growth with average annual revenue growth rates of 3.3%.
  • Rising international trade will increase shipments to U.S. ports over the next five years, which will lead to increased demand for the industry.
  • The deepwater Port of Charleston is the most efficient U.S. seaport with five terminals close to the open sea.
  • Relative to the Port of Charleston, the state can attribute nearly $12 billion in wages and more than 260,000 jobs from the Port's presence in the Lowcountry

Who's Already Doing Business Here