Japanese logistics company coming to Greenville; plans to hire 150

A Japanese logistics company that counts Toyota and Panasonic among its customers plans to spend $11 million and hire nearly 150 workers for a new warehouse in southern Greenville County, according to local economic development officials.

KI Logistics will use the 206,000-square-foot facility in The Matrix industrial park along U.S. 25 to provide logistics services to various manufacturers, according to a news release from the Greenville Area Development Corp., Greenville County’s economic development organization.

Customers will include two companies with plants in the Greenville area: Drive Automotive Industries, which stamps metal parts for BMW and other automakers in Moonville, and JTEKT Corp., which makes auto parts in The Matrix.

The new facility will also serve as the North American headquarters for KI Logistics and is expected to open in July, according to the news release.

It will be the second Upstate operation for Kimura Unity Co., the Japanese parent company of KI Logistics.

A different Kimura unit has made steel storage containers and racks for the auto industry from a plant in Laurens since 2002.

Among the Japanese company’s big customers are Toyota Motor Corp. and Panasonic Corp., according to its Web site.

The new warehouse adds to an already significant level of corporate investment in South Carolina from Japan, which accounts for more of the state’s foreign direct investment than any other country except Germany and France, according to the Commerce Department.

Japanese firms in the Greenville area include JTEKT, which operates an engineering center at the International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville on top of its auto parts plant at The Matrix.

Japan’s Kyocera Corp. owns a controlling interest in AVX Corp., the Greenville-based capacitor maker, while Nissan operates a parts warehouse along Interstate 85 in Greenville and Yokohama Rubber Co. makes power steering parts near Easley.

In Laurens County, Fukoku Co. Ltd. makes rubber auto parts and NICCA Chemical Co. makes industrial dye products.

Also Japanese-owned are the Mitsubishi Corp. polyester film plant in Greer, the Suminole Textile auto carpet plant in Gaffney, the Fujifilm imaging products factory in Greenwood and the AFL Telecommunications fiber-optic cable plant in Duncan.

Elsewhere in South Carolina, major operations of Japanese companies include Bridgestone’s tire manufacturing in Graniteville, Honda’s all-terrain vehicle plant in Timmonsville and Komatsu’s heavy equipment factory in Newberry.