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Monday, January 11, 2010 - 9:19am

Mercedes-Benz Ships Through Brunswick

About 1,600 new Mercedes-Benz autos shipped into the United States on Monday through the Port of Brunswick.

The cars represent hopes for a comeback for Brunswick longshoremen.

Dockworkers saw Brunswick port traffic decrease last year by about 25%.

Brunswick is a leading U.S. import terminal for European cars that last year many Americans weren't buying.

Joe Howard, President of the Brunswick Chapter International Longshoreman's Association says, the recession meant lost working hours for many dockworkers.

"Maybe December November, it began to pick back up a little bit," Howard says. "And with the addition of Mercedes and some other entities that should be coming to the port, we're looking for a great upswing."

The new volume from Mercedes-Benz will boost port traffic in Brunswick by 16%.

That means more working hours for longshoremen.

"Last year we had a lot of our people based on the drop in volume that made less hours, so some of them didn't qualify for the benefit plan," Howard says. "This year, we're looking to cover everybody."

Officials expect the additional autos to generate 122 jobs and $1.5 million in state and local taxes

"We would like to thank Mercedes-Benz USA for its confidence in our terminal and operations to handle not only its export but also import traffic through the Port of Brunswick," said Georgia Ports Authority’s Executive Director Curtis J. Foltz. "We are pleased to welcome Mercedes-Benz USA’s additional business to Colonel’s Island Terminal and the new jobs and economic opportunities it represents."

Mercedes-Benz USA’s 70,000-square-foot facility is the second vehicle processing center to locate on the south side of Colonel’s Island Terminal.

The new center consolidates the company’s Southeastern shipping operations and makes the Port of Brunswick its South Atlantic hub.

The facility will bring more than 40,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles into the port annually.

"This is a tremendous milestone for our company, and we look forward to working with the Georgia Ports Authority,” said Mercedes-Benz USA National Import and Domestic Logistics Department Manager Peter Bresnee. "Bringing imports into Brunswick is a great match for us with our exports that have been there since 1997."

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