Citing the rail and highway network around Chattanooga's Enterprise South industrial park, food giant Archer Daniels Midland on Friday took the wraps off a new transfer facility.
"You can see that ADM isn't alone in seeing the value of this area," said Chris Cuddy, vice president of ADM's corn sweetener division, about Volkswagen, Amazon and other companies in the industrial park.
ADM operates 30 such transfer stations nationally, officials said. In Chattanooga, it will transfer corn syrup, starch and sugar products from rail cars to trucks for delivery to food producers within 150 miles.
In 2011, the company announced it was consolidating three area locations into one at Enterprise South. At the time, Hamilton County Commissioner Larry Henry said it represented a $24 million to $27 million investment.
ADM Area Manager Kevin Horton said that about 25 employees are stationed at the transfer terminal.
ADM isn't adding any jobs at present.
"We hope to grow," he said, adding the new 50,000-square-foot center will provide lots of efficiencies by the time it's in full operation around the first of next year. Horton especially cited the new equipment.
Mark Bemis, a corporate senior vice president for the Decatur, Ill.-based company, said ADM moves products all over the world.
"Our new facility here is a key piece in that network," he said.
County Mayor Jim Coppinger told about 100 people at the unveiling that ADM reused an older building already on site.
"It's remarkable," he said about the new transfer facility.
Jimmy Hopper, an assistant commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, termed the station "very nice." In addition to efficiencies for ADM, the facility offers safety and customer service advantages, Hopper said.
The new location will replace its Jersey Pike and River Bend terminals in Chattanooga and one in Cleveland, Tenn.