Target Corp.’s proposed two million-square-foot import distribution center in Savannah would bring more imports from abroad and especially from Asia through the Port of Savannah, according to the Georgia Ports Authority’s general manager of marketing and business development, Roberto Rodriguez.

The new facility, which is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2007, is to feed products coming through the port to Target’s various Southeast regional distribution centers. The retail chain has 41 stores in Georgia alone, including seven SuperTarget stores.

Mr. Rodriguez’ marketing team helped prepare research on Savannah’s competitive advantages for a Target distribution facility to woo the company. “We really wanted to bring Target to Savannah because it brings jobs and increases revenue for the port,” he said.

“The Savannah center will receive cargo from all over world, from Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia. So, will cargo from Asia increase? Yes, definitely,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “This is going to be a huge amount of cargo.”

He said the new Target imports are expected to boost the port’s annual volume by 60,000 containers per year within three years after the distribution center’s completion. Some 70% of these containers are expected to be coming from Asia, he added.

“The Target warehouse is validation for the Georgia Ports Authority’s strategy of soliciting trade from China and the Far East. One of the reasons the port has done so well is that it has been proactive in marketing to companies that have this kind of international trade,” Rick Winger, president of the Savannah Economic Development Authority, told GlobalAtlanta.

The new Target facility is to be located in the Savannah River International Trade Park some four miles from the port’s Garden City Terminal.

Target is also constructing another distribution center in Midway in Liberty County, which is expected to employ some 500 workers. It already has a 1.5 million-square-foot distribution center in Tifton that employs approximately 800 people.

The new Savannah center will be the second-largest distribution center in Georgia. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s largest import center in the world is a 2.2-million-square-foot facility in Statesboro.

The Target center will contribute to the Georgia Ports Authority’s anticipated 150 percent growth in the next 15 years at the Port of Savannah. The authority’s executive director, Doug Marchand, presented a strategic plan last week that included $700 million in investment in the port over the next 10 years to prepare it for increased cargo.

In the past 12 months, 12 million square feet of distribution space has either been built, is under construction or being planned for the Savannah port area, according to the Georgia Ports Authority.

Contact Robert Morris at the Georgia Ports Authority at (912) 964-3855 or Contact Paula Thornton-Greear at Target at (612) 696-3400. Visit for more information.