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Subaru Will Make its Port of Richmond Debut

About 35,000 cars will arrive at the port annually, bringing about $5 million in revenues and 30 new jobs

This summer, Subaru of America will begin shipping roughly 35,000 vehicles a year through the Port or Richmond for the next five years, bringing in revenues around $5 million in that time, according to Jim Matzorkis, who runs the city’s port.

While the deal is not yet signed, the details have been largely fleshed out between Subaru of America, the Port of Richmond, and Auto Warehousing Company, the company contracted by Subaru to run their operations at the port. Richmond’s City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to include Subaru in an environmental impact report issued for Honda’s port deal, lending their stamp of approval and paving the way for the operation to begin.

Auto Warehousing Company, which also runs Honda’s operation in Richmond, will add upward of 30 new Teamster employees. Matzorkis said the company is interested in hiring locally.

“We can’t promise that all 30 of them will be residents, but we’re going to target Richmond residents first,” he said.

Matzorkis added that the company will look to RichmondWORKS, the city’s employment training program, to find new employees. Currently, 35 percent of Auto Warehousing’s 200 employees at the port are Richmond residents.

Subaru will bring five lines of cars through the port, said Larry Strug, national transportation manager at the company, in an email. The Forester and Impreza lines will be imported from Japan, and the Outback, Legacy, and Tribeca lines, which are produced in Lafayette, IN, will be received via rail at the port.

“Currently the imported cars are trucked into California from their Pacific Northwest Port,” Strug wrote. “The Richmond Port will reduce this trucking impact.”

The deal will utilize existing rail, roadway and berthing infrastructure built for the Honda deal, and Subaru will spend between $500,000 and $750,000 at the port to add office space and shop capacity for installing accessories in the cars brought in from Japan.

“This is another step for the port and for the city in attracting good partner companies to do business in our city,” Matzorkis said.

There is still plenty of capacity at the port to bring in more cars, Matzorkis said, and he is currently in China continuing talks with a Chinese carmaker to bring in electric and gas-driven cars when they enter the market. He declined to name the company.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Councilman Nat Bates said that the city was also working to bring Toyota to the port of Richmond.

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