Vanguard National Trailer Corporation started production today at its new 356,000-square-foot dry van trailer manufacturing plant in Trenton, Georgia, 30 miles southwest of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
This is Vanguard’s second dry van manufacturing plant, joining the primary facility in Monon, Indiana. Vanguard started planning the facility three years ago, and chose Trenton after considering locations in Tennessee, Alabama and other locations in Georgia. The company broke ground on the 100-acre site in the Dade County Industrial Park on Sept. 3, 2015.
The project came in on time and under the $36 million budget, according to president Charlie Mudd.
“There is not currently a dry van manufacturing plant in the Southeast United States, so we wanted to put a plant there,” Mudd told Trailer/Body Builders. “We didn’t want to build a plant of a size that would necessarily dilute the industry, but by locating a relatively small 10,000-trailer capacity plant in the Southeast, we thought we could better service our customers in the Southeast.
“We will grow our company and better serve the Southeast. The state of Georgia is very proud of it. We had very strong support from the state of Georgia, Dade County and the city of Trenton, and they’re anticipating that at full capacity, we’ll add 400 jobs to the area. So far, 70 positions have been filled.”
The plant’s estimated 10,000-trailer capacity is expected to provide the company with substantial relief from backlogs that are stretching out almost a year in some cases. Vanguard National & CIMC Intermodal were fifth on Trailer/Body Builders’ list of the top 25 manufacturers for 2015, with a total of 42,594, up from 28,374 in 2014. (That included 10,835 dry freight vans, 2700 refrigerated, 15,116 ISO container chassis, and 13,943 domestic chassis.)
Mudd said the start-up will be “very slow,” but Vanguard’s written plan has the plant at full capacity within three years.
“Of course my brain would like it to be sooner,” Mudd said.
Mudd said the entire project was designed and planned by the Vanguard team.
“The plant is equipped to operate at high efficiency while maintaining the capability to provide wide customization for customers,” he said.