BMW to move export center next to Upstate inland port site

BMW’s new 413,000-square-foot vehicle export center in Greer is expected to be up and running in January. (Provided/BMW Manufaxcturing Co.)

BMW Manufacturing Co. said today it is building a new export center next to the State Ports Authority’s inland cargo facility near the luxury automaker’s Greer factory.

The move stems from the German company’s decision in 2011 to ship more of its X3 sport utility vehicles to emerging markets, including Russia, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt. That strategy is being expanded to include the new X5.

As part of that, BMW is moving its Upstate export hub from a 156,000 square feet building in Duncan to the SPA’s so-called inland port site.

The new 413,000-square-feet structure is expected to open in January. BMW said it can add another 337,000 square feet of space onto the building if it needs it.

“Our export program enables BMW to invest in new markets where we see potential for future growth,” said Josef Kerscher, president of BMW Manufacturing. “Since 2011, demand for the X3 from emerging markets has nearly doubled, and we believe the X5 will follow this trend.”

BMW’s Spartanburg County plant is one of the largest automotive exporters in the country, with most of its shipments going through the SPA’s Columbus Street Terminal in Charleston.

The SPA’s 100-acre inland port near Interstate 85 is expected to open this fall. The facility will handle containerized goods and other cargo that Norfolk Southern rail cars will move between the Port of Charleston and Greer.