Governor Riley Announces Rail Car Manufacturer Locating in Northwest Alabama
1,800 New Jobs, Investment Estimated at $350 Million
FLORENCE -- Governor Bob Riley announced Wednesday that a rail car manufacturer will build a new manfacturing facility in Colbert County that is expected to employ 1,800 workers, the latest economic development "mega project" Alabama has successfully recruited to the state.
The company, National Alabama Corporation, is a newly formed subsidiary of National Industries Inc., the parent company of National Steel Car Limited. National Steel Car, based in the Canadian city of Hamilton in the Ontario province, is a leading North American rail car manufacturer since 1912.
"This is the type of transformational economic development project that northwest Alabama has needed for some time. It means new jobs, more opportunities and a better quality of life for our citizens," said Governor Riley. "We welcome National Alabama Corporation and will do everything we can to make sure the company succeeds, grows and provides good jobs for the people of this area."
Company Chairman and CEO Gregory Aziz said, "Together with National Steel Car's Hamilton facility, our new Alabama manufacturing facility will further reinforce our position as one of the largest and most modern manufacturers in the North American railcar industry." National Steel Car is currently the largest single site manufacturing facility for freight railway cars in North America, which is capable of producing 15,000 new freight railroad cars per year.
The combined operations of National Steel Car and National Alabama will increase National's product offerings to the North American market. National Steel Car has continued to invest heavily in modern technology and new plants over the past decade and the new Alabama operation will continue that focus, employing an engineered "Greenfield" high quality manufacturing process. With both facilities operational in early 2009, National will have additional multiproduct flexibility, as well as enhanced operating capacity utilizing the strengths of both plants. This new investment will allow National to continue to extend its strong presence with its primary customer base in the U.S.
Governor Riley thanked state and local officials for their industry recruitment approach. "Successfully recruiting National Alabama Corporation was a team effort. Any time we bring a new industry to Alabama, it requires a strong partnership between the state, local officials, economic developers and the company. That partnership was out in full force on this project, and on behalf of the people of Alabama, I thank everyone who was involved in this outstanding victory."
Mr. Aziz emphasized, "We undertook a comprehensive assessment to determine the best possible North American site. As part of this process, our people worked closely with several jurisdictions. I cannot say enough about the support we received during this rigorous process by all participants. Ultimately, we had to make a very difficult decision. We are very pleased to be undertaking this investment in Alabama and thank Governor Bob Riley, the State and local economic development organizations and all agencies and individuals who worked to make this possible.
"We look forward to a long and beneficial partnership as a successful business and active community member in the Shoals region. We are making a very long-term commitment to work with these communities, as a responsible employer, to train and develop a large number of new associates and, to actively participate in programs that enhance the quality of life and community in this region."
Mr. Aziz emphasized that National's team has been working for nearly two years assessing process design, and optimal plant configuration solutions. The new single structure manufacturing facility is designed to provide low cost, flexible operation with enhanced product throughput resulting in exceptional quality for our customers.
While specific cost figures were not released, the investment is estimated to be in the $350 million range. When in full operation, annual capacity is expected to be in the 8,000 to 10,000-unit range providing new employment for 1800 people.
About National Steel Car