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Manufacturing, Robotics and Industrial Technology

Hampton Roads is strategically located in the heart of the mid-Atlantic, which lends significant logistical advantages to the region. Its convenient and accessible transportation infrastructure provides multiple options for moving goods between national and international markets. Additionally, manufacturers are able to take advantage of a corporate income tax rate of only 6% that has not seen an increase since 1972, streamlined permitting processes, a right-to-work law and minimal union activity.

Key Companies

  • AMSEC Corporation
  • BAUER Compressors, Inc.
  • Canon Virginia, Inc.
  • Liebherr Mining Equipment Co.
  • Plasser American Co.
  • STIHL Inc.
  • Sumitomo Machinery Corporation of America
  • TE Connectivity Ltd.

The nearly 280 manufacturing companies located in Hampton Roads benefit from its historically pro-business environment as well as an innovative atmosphere. Local robotics firms such as Swisslog design and produce automated material handling solutions, increasing production and warehousing efficiency. Others, such as Applied Research Associates, Inc. have a presence in Hampton Roads and work hand-in-hand with local military installations to create public safety solutions.

Industry Highlights

Close Proximity to the Port of Virginia

  • Centrally located on the East Coast, Hampton Roads is within a two-day drive time of approximately 70% of the U.S. population and over 307,000 manufacturing establishments
  • 50 foot channels and only US East Coast port authorization for 55-foot channels
  • First-in, last out port of call, which means less time to market
  • 2.5 hours to open sea
  • 2.39 Million TEUs annual throughput in 2014
  • No labor strikes in over 30 years

Hampton Roads is within a Foreign Trade Zone

  • Reduces or eliminates customs duties
  • Businesses can defer paying U.S. Customs duties on imported goods until the goods enter the United States for domestic consumption
  • No duties are paid if goods are re-exported
  • No duties are paid on broken or wasted products
  • Businesses are allowed to store goods within the foreign trade zone for an unlimited period of time
  • Manufacturers pay duties on either the foreign parts used or on the finished product, whichever is least expensive

Labor Force
Union Rates: Virginia is an “at will” and “right-to-work” state. Below is a chart which shows the percentage of total workforce that are members of a union in Hampton Roads, which is much lower than the state and national average.

Percentage of Workforce that are Union Members
  Hampton Roads Virginia United States
Total 5.00% 5.00% 11.20%
Private 3.70% 3.10% 6.70%
Public 9.20% 11.70% 35.30%

Brookings, Bureau of National Affairs, 2014

Over 36,000 people have production occupations in Hampton Roads. Below are examples of the manufacturing industry staffing and the average annual salary patterns.

Number Employed and Average Salaries in Manufacturing Industry
  Number of Employees Average Annual Wage
Industrial Engineers 920 $86,400
Mechanical Engineers 1,780 $85,440
General and Operations Managers 9,060 $119,650
Team Assemblers and Assemblers and Fabricators, All Other 3,890 $28,385
Machinists 2,300 $47,250
Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers 3,000 $43,890

Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014

Average Rent
The table below provides the average annual rent per square foot for industrial space in Hampton Roads compared to the nation.

Average Annual Rent Per Square Foot for Industrial Space
  Hampton Roads, VA U.S.
Flex Market $9.38 $11.40
Warehouse Market $4.77 $4.97
Total Industrial Market $5.34 $5.69

CoStar Market Reports, Q3 2015

Competitive, Affordable Industrial Rates: Dominion Virginia Power
As of September 2015, Dominion’s typical industrial rate will be 20.8% below the Southeast Peer Group average, 37.4% below the national average, and 52.9% below the East Coast average.

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