Kobe Steel will ramp up construction machinery production in the U.S. state of South Carolina to prepare for an increase in infrastructure projects in the country.
The oil and gas industry has already seen construction demand rise since the Trump administration came to power.
The Japanese company is investing roughly 4 billion yen ($34.8 million) and plans to triple its staff to 150 workers by 2020. The state of South Carolina apparently "cooperates to help create jobs, and it is easy to secure skilled talent there," according to the company.
Subsidiary Kobelco Construction Machinery built a hydraulic excavator factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in 2016. But due to a market slowdown, production has been limited to 60 to 70 units per month, although the plant has a maximum annual output of 1,800 units.
Kobe Steel plans to boost monthly output to more than 100 units by 2020. It will add 17-ton and roughly 50-ton hydraulic excavators to its lineup, which currently consists of 20- and 30-ton midsize equipment. The additions will enable Kobe Steel to meet demand ranging from redevelopment of roads and bridges to energy pipeline construction.
Kobelco has developed its own sales network since 2012, when its partnership ended with Dutch construction machinery company CNH Global. Through increased production, the company aims to expand its U.S. market share from roughly 5% in 2016.