Thursday, October 29, 2009

Honda Breaks Ground on New Richmond Import Facility

The American arm of Japan-based Honda Motor Co. broke ground Tuesday on a new hybrid-car import facility that will make the Port of Richmond, California one of only three West Coast ports of entry for the carmaker's Japan-manufactured vehicles.

The 80-acre facility promises to pump more than $85 million into the local economy over the 15-year deal with the city. The Honda Port of Entry Project and the completed facility will also create about 250 jobs, according to American Honda Motor Co., of which 30 percent must go--under terms of the deal--to people that live in Richmond.

As part of the deal, the city will spend about $37 million to build new rail tracks at the facility location and upgrade existing tracks. Currently, Honda ships autos destined for the Bay Area through the Port of San Diego and trucks the vehicles to Northern California. In addition to Honda hybrids going to customers in the Bay Area, the Richmond facility will, according to the developers, also be utilized to ship the Honda vehicles via rail to the entire southern half of the country.

When completed, Honda expects to ship about 145,000 cars a year through the facility.