Irish safety gear manufacturer to establish new markets in the U.S., create 100 jobs
SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (March 17, 2014) – Gov. Steve Beshear today joined company officials and local leaders to announce Portwest LLC, a global workwear and safety gear designer and manufacturer, plans to build a distribution center in Shepherdsville.
The Bullitt County facility will be the first North American operation for the company. Portwest, based in Ireland, will create 100 new jobs and invest nearly $4.4 million into the project.
“I’m very excited Portwest chose Kentucky as its entryway into the U.S. market. This is yet another great example of Kentucky being at the forefront of international commerce,” Beshear said.
Portwest specializes in selling workwear and personal protective equipment. The company expects the Shepherdsville operation to open new markets throughout North America, adding to its extensive distribution network in Europe and Africa. Portwest will occupy a 71,000-s.f. building on Omega Parkway, and plans to be operational by early 2015.
“Portwest has specialized in safety clothing and footwear for over 100 years,” said Harry Hughes, Portwest’s managing director. “We are delighted to start a new branch in Kentucky, which is centrally located for distribution and business friendly. We look forward to growing our company in the U.S. and working with local communities in creating long-term employment.”
Portwest started as a small shop in Ireland in 1904 and today employs more than 1,000 people in Europe. The company operates other warehouses in the United Kingdom, Poland, Dubai and Ireland.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives of up to $1 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
“Over the past five years, Bullitt County has been fortunate to attract many national companies and it is very appropriate on St. Patrick’s Day that we welcome an Irish company to our community,” said Bullitt County Judge-Executive Melanie Roberts. “We are pleased that Portwest chose Bullitt County for its first distribution facility in the United States. Economic development is a top priority for our county and increasing the number of jobs and the overall wage rate is very important.”
For more information on Portwest LLC, visit www.portwest.com.