The American multinational retail corporation, Walmart has started construction on its more than 900,000m2 Walmart Ridgeville Import Distribution Center in Dorchester County, South Carolina.

Walmart is investing US$220 million to build the direct import distribution centre, which is expected to increase volumes at the Port of Charleston by 5%, according to a statement.

The construction is underway on the new storage and cross-dock facility in the Ridgeville Industrial Campus, which sits along Interstate 26.

The distribution centre, which was announced in July, will take approximately 14 months to build, according to South Carolina Ports (SC Ports).

“This investment and the 1,000 jobs that come with it will help continue our state’s tremendous economic success and change the lives of South Carolinians,” pointed out Governor Henry McMaster.

The Walmart Ridgeville Import Distribution Center will supply several regional distribution centres, which will support approximately 850 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores across South Carolina and beyond.

Additionally, Walmart’s new distribution centre in the Charleston region will grant access to the booming Southeast market and a world-class port, according to a statement.

“We will support the investment [in the Walmart facility] by efficiently handling Walmart’s imported goods. This investment is a signal to the major retailers that we’re prepared to be a force in retail distribution and that we can handle their requirements,” SC Ports president and CEO Jim Newsome said.

Several partners have co-operated for the project, including Walmart, SC Ports, Gov. McMaster, the SC Department of Commerce, Dorchester County, the SC Legislature and the Congressional delegation.

SC Ports purchased the 400 hectare Ridgeville Industrial Campus in 2018 with the goal of creating a site for port-dependent businesses to locate. The US Department of Transportation recently awarded SC Ports a nearly US$22 million grant to build infrastructure at the site for current and future tenants and Walmart is now the site’s first tenant.

In support of the Walmart project, SC Ports preserved a 130 hectare parcel of land within the Timothy Creek and Four Holes Swamp Watershed, both of which have been identified as priority areas for conservation. This conservation project was done through a partnership between SC Ports, Lowcountry Land Trust and Open Space Institute.