Monday, September 17 2018
By Idaho Commerce
Over the last several years, numerous expanding companies from around the globe made the choice to put down roots in Idaho. Companies from France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Canada among others saw a thriving, business-friendly environment in Idaho. From agribusiness and advanced manufacturing to science, research and technology, the state’s abundant natural resources, infrastructure, skilled workforce, partnership opportunities and geographic benefits, drew businesses from all over the world seeking the benefits of investing in the Gem State.
Strengthening the Supply Chain
Idaho has been a long-standing leader in food processing and agribusiness with almost 12 million acres of the state is occupied by farmland and nearly 25,000 operational farms and ranches. Many businesses have been successful producing products that feed the world while more companies are jumping at the opportunity to partner with other Idaho-based businesses to strengthen the supply chain together.
NewCold, a Netherlands-based cold storage and logistics specialist, is one of the most recent companies to expand to Idaho. The company’s decision to open its second U.S. location in Burley, Idaho was due in large part to the opportunity to partner with McCain Foods.
Canada-based McCain Foods is the largest manufacturer of frozen potato products in the world. The company chose to operate in Burley, Idaho due to proximity to quality potatoes, availability of skilled workforce and support from the State of Idaho. The company’s success in Burley even led to a $200 million expansion, which will increase their potato production capacity by 15,000 acres per year and employ over 700 Idahoans. Soon, NewCold will partner with McCain Foods to serve the company’s logistics needs in the Northwestern U.S. from its new 180,000 square-foot, fully-automated facility.
Regional Access Equals Cost Efficiency
Location was also a key factor for Materne North America, the parent company of GoGo squeeZ Applesauce, which opened a $85 million food-processing facility in Nampa, Idaho in 2014. Materne, which is based in France, was drawn to Idaho due to its location in the heart of the Pacific Northwest. Idaho produces more than 60 million pounds of commercial apples each year and provided the perfect location for easy access to neighboring states that grow additional fruit used in GoGo squeeZ products.
The GoGo squeeZ facility in Nampa produces about 60 percent of the company’s resealable fruit snack pouches sold in the U.S. Several of Idaho’s apple orchards are located in rural communities nearby the GoGo squeeZ facility in Nampa making it far more economical for the company to partner with farmers and source fruits locally. Nampa’s proximity to a major interstate also allows the company to source fruit and deliver products around the west coast more efficiently and cost effectively.
Great Minds Think Together
For Sakae Casting, the ability to create jobs and to work directly with multiple key partners made Idaho the right choice. The Japan-based company specializes in castings for inserting stainless steel pipes into aluminum casting products with minimized clearance, a product that is necessary for optimal performance of semi-conductors and super computers. Since establishing its first U.S. location in Idaho Falls, Idaho in early 2017, the company has partnered with two Idaho higher education institutions and Idaho National Laboratory to collaborate on research projects.
Currently, a team of researchers from Sakae Casting, Idaho National Laboratory, Boise State University and University of Idaho have partnered to design a safer, more efficient method for cooling and storing spent nuclear fuel from nuclear reactors. At active nuclear power plants across the world, fuel in the reactors must be replaced every three years. The process for storing spent fuel safely is also time consuming and labor intensive. Fuel is stored in pools of water for up to 20 years, which requires thorough monitoring of water supply and temperature, before it is sealed in concrete casks. The project, which is funded by an IGEM grant from the Idaho Department of Commerce, aims to develop a new aluminum cast that is embedded with natural boron to cool used nuclear fuel. The research team hopes to find a solution to reducing the amount of water required and reduce the environmental impacts associated with storing the fuel.
Collaborations of this nature not only benefit the businesses and organizations involved, they also help enhance research capabilities at Idaho universities, while propelling the state forward as leader in the energy, advanced manufacturing and technology industries.
Seeking Natural Resources
Canada-based eCobalt, an advanced-stage, near-term primary cobalt producer, looked to Idaho’s rich natural resources to set up the company’s first U.S. operation. Cobalt, which has not been mined in the U.S. for decades, is a key component found in lithium-ion batteries. This type of battery commonly found in electric cars and electronic devices such as computers, cell phones and tablets. Consumption of cobalt is rapidly on the rise as the demand for rechargeable batteries grows with consumer technology. Research by Markets and Markets projects the battery market to grow at a CAGR of 16.6 percent between 2016 and 2022, which is expected to be valued at $68.97 billion.
eCoablt’s Idaho Cobalt Project is the nation’s only environmentally permitted primary cobalt project. It includes a cobalt mine 26 miles west of Salmon, Idaho as well as a cobalt production facility in Blackfoot, Idaho. eCoablt saw Idaho as a key location to set up operations due to existing water and sewer lines, water waste disposal and power supply to support the refinery’s construction and operation, and nearby highway and rail access for transporting cobalt from the mine to the refinery. The company also recognized the impact and importance of the area’s skilled labor pool to employ at both the mine and refinery.
In Idaho, global companies have benefitted from lower operating costs, fair tax structure, and access to local and regional resources. They have discovered a state with knowledgeable decision makers and government officials committed to assisting efforts that impact company expansion. We invite you to discover what opportunities are waiting for your business in Idaho.
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