COLUMBIA, SC – October 22, 2008 – ECI-Find New Markets was recently awarded a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Enterprise Grant for a feasibility study on a transloader facility for small agribusinesses interested in expanding to new markets. Utilizing agriculture products such as soybeans or woodchips, the transloader facility will fill the empty shipping containers, which make up 8-9 percent of the total 2 million, leaving the Charleston, S.C. port.
ECI is partnering with the Palmetto Agribusiness Council on the study. The project fits within the Council’s goal to explore opportunities that will create jobs and strengthen economies in rural areas via agribusiness expansion.
Thanks to the USDA grant, we’ll be able to pinpoint which of South Carolina’s small agribusinesses will reap the most benefits from this expansion, create much-needed jobs and most importantly, profit the rural areas of our state, said Anita Patel, ECI’s project manager.
Throughout this 12-month study, ECI will identify the facility’s costs, location, transportation and availability of products and targeted markets. As of yet, no specific location for the transloader facility has been chosen, however ECI will explore suitable 12-acre sites in or around Orangeburg because of its proximity to both I-26 and I-95.
About ECI-Find New Markets
ECI-Find New Markets, formally the South Carolina Export Consortium, is a private-public-academic partnership dedicated to helping companies increase their competitiveness in the global marketplace. Through in-depth market research, creative marketing solutions and growth strategies, ECI identifies and develops new markets, new customers and new products and services. Also a member of the South Carolina International Trade Coalition, ECI partners with several organizations on regional, national and international levels, to help companies grow their business through domestic and international expansion. For more information about ECI-Find New Markets, visit www.findnewmarkets.com.
About USDA Rural Development
USDA Rural Development serves as the lead federal entity for rural development needs and administers program assistance through three program areas: Rural Housing and Community Facilities, Rural Business and Cooperative and Rural Utilities.
Further information on USDA Rural Development can be obtained by contacting any USDA Service Center or by visiting USDA’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov. USDA Rural Development is an Equal Opportunity Lender, Provider and Employer. Complaints of discrimination should be sent to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410.