Business Florida 2022 - The Regions
Bay • Calhoun • Escambia • Franklin • Gadsen • Gulf • Holmes • Jackson • Jefferson • Leon • Liberty • Okaloosa • Santa Rosa • Wakulla • Walton • Washington
Logistics and Distribution
One of the best reasons for choosing a site in Florida’s Northwest is its shape — a panhandle 200 miles long and 50 to 100 miles wide with Alabama and Georgia easily accessible to the north, the Gulf of Mexico to the south and four commercial airports in between. And with I-10 bisecting the region from east to west, connections to I-65, I-75 and I-95 as well as Class 1 CSX and Norfolk Southern are within easy reach.
Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, Northwest Florida’s maritime ports continue to grow. At Port Panama City, revenue is up by 8%, mostly due to robust growth in exports of wood pellets manufactured in Cottondale by Maryland-based Enviva Partners; talks are underway to expand the current contract. And at the Port of Pensacola, total tonnage has increased by 110.6% over the last 12 months, while the number of vessels docking is up 47.5%. Here too, work continues on the conversion of a freighter from cargo ship to landing platform for Blue Origin’s “returnable” rocket boosters.
Distribution facilities are beginning to cluster here too:
• Birmingham, Ala.-based Coca-Cola United, the third largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the U.S., will site a 24,000-sq.-ft. sales and distribution facility in Panama City with 80 employees anticipated.
• Amazon plans to locate two new facilities in Florida’s Northwest: a 630,000-sq.-ft. robotics distribution and fulfillment center in Leon County and a last-mile delivery site in Marianna.
• Veteran-owned pharmaceutical and medical device company Lovell Government Services plans to build a 100,000-sq.-ft. distribution facility in the Santa Rosa County Industrial Park.
KEY PLAYERS: Eastern Shipbuilding, Panama City; FedEx Ground, Defuniak Springs; Goldring Gulf Distributing, Milton
Two manufacturing firms in Florida’s Northwest are growing to meet increased demand due to the coronavirus pandemic:
• Catalyst Fabric Solutions, maker of bed furnishings, towels and other home décor items, has added 125 jobs in Marianna after receiving FDA certification to produce isolation gowns for health care workers.
• American Elite Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is manufacturing “melt blown polypropylene,” the critical filter medium used in medical grade face masks and gowns, at its newly opened 14,000-sq.-ft. facility in Fort Walton Beach.
Also in this sector: Danfoss Turbocor, maker of oil-free, energy-efficient centrifugal compressors for air-conditioning, heating and refrigeration systems, is adding up to 90,000-sq.-ft. and more than 235 new manufacturing and research jobs at its Tallahassee plant.
KEY PLAYERS: American Elite Molding, Crestview; Danfoss Turbocor, Tallahassee; GE Oil & Gas, Pensacola