OUR OPINION: Caterpillar digs more deeply with its regional footprint

By NEMS Daily Journal

Few brands enjoy a stronger worldwide presence or a better reputation than Caterpillar, the Peoria, Ill.-based manufacturer that is almost a generic name for heavy, complex equipment for all sorts of tasks.
Its the kind of brand every community longs to have, and three places in Northeast Mississippi can make the claim: Corinth, Booneville and Oxford.
On Thursday, Caterpillar formally announced and broke ground for a massive new logistics facility in Corinth to support its remanufacturing operations in Corinth and Booneville.
The 540,000-square-foot center will add 35 new jobs to the region’s payroll and consolidate warehousing operations for the giant corporation’s main work in Northeast Mississippi. Total employment at the site will be 115.
Caterpillar, which had gross income of more than $60 billion in 2011, is on pace to exceed that worldwide in 2012. Its first-quarter report showed profits up 29 percent over 2011, precisely the kind of company Mississippi needs to make an even bigger footprint in our state.
Caterpillar is considered the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company also is services provider through Caterpillar Financial Services, Caterpillar Remanufacturing Services, Caterpillar Logistics Services and Progress Rail Services. Caterpillar employs about 1,400 people statewide. In addition to Oxford, Booneville and Corinth, it has operations in Southaven.
The new operation will cost $34.5 million; Jumper Realty is investing $27 million in the construction, and Caterpillar is investing $7.5 million in new equipment. It will lease the facility from Jumper.
The event and the investment were important enough to bring the governor to town, a sure measure in Mississippi of anticipated impact.
“Today is a great day for Caterpillar, the City of Corinth and Alcorn County, and the state of Mississippi,” Gov. Phil Bryant said.
The new facility will be known as Caterpillar’s Mississippi Logistics Service Center. Its operations will be comprised of warehousing engine parts and the shipping of individual and bundled parts to the company’s remanufacturing facilities in Corinth and Booneville, and in other areas. Additionally, it will house the company’s logistical and ordering operations.
The Mississippi Development Authority, as would be expected, worked closely with company by providing assistance for infrastructure improvements.
Caterpillar’s new Mississippi investment is reflective of its worldwide situation.
Caterpillar has grown its global employment 50 percent since the start of 2010, to a total of 155,710 people.
All in all, Caterpillar has made a stronger commitment to its Mississippi presence, and our region’s economy will be stronger in total.