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Lehigh Valley's Foreign Direct Investment Grows with New $4 Million Facility | WDIY Local News

Ibrahim Boran

A Swiss company has opened a new facility in the Lehigh Valley, continuing a trend of foreign investment in the region.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. recently announced that the Swiss firm ABB Installation Products has opened a $4 million facility in Palmer Township.

According to a release, the 350,000-square-foot Northeast Distribution Center was located in the Lehigh Valley to be closer to ABB’s customers and cut delivery times to over a dozen states by up to 50%.

“What used to take five or six days to get, now our customers are going to get in a day or two,” Ken Shotts, ABB’s Vice President of Logistics and Inventory, said in a statement.

Shotts also said the new center is part of the company’s environmental commitment, cutting 25,000 miles a week of transportation and over 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

The facility can hold up to $15 million in inventory, and will create 100 jobs.

ABB designs and manufactures components for electrical systems, and the LVEDC called its new operation “the latest example of foreign direct investment in the Lehigh Valley.”

The economic development agency says more than 80 international companies from 23 countries have a presence within the region.

These companies represented 40% of the total prospects that considered the Lehigh Valley area in 2022, and they completed or announced 2 million square feet of development projects in the region last year.

In September 2022, the German medical and pharmaceutical device company B. Braun opened a $200 million, 310,000-square-foot expansion on its Allentown campus, while the German chemical company Evonik also opened a new $50 million Innovation Hub at its Allentown, adding 50 jobs.

Mack Trucks – part of the Swedish Volvo Group – opened an $84 million renovation project at its Lehigh Valley Operations in Macungie in 2020.

Recently in April 2023, the Italian company Travaglini, which makes equipment to cure meats and cheeses, bought a building in Allentown for its first U.S. site.

The LVEDC also hosted a delegation of economic development officials from Ireland in February 2023. Representatives from three Irish Local Enterprise Offices visited Bethlehem and toured the area to discuss potential investment and opportunities for international business.

Other international companies operating in the Lehigh Valley include the Japanese firm Olympus Corp., France’s Air Liquide, Australian manufacturer Easy Signs, Chinese company Fuling, and the German-based Bosch Rexroth, among others.

According to David Briel, Deputy Secretary for International Business Development at the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, over 5,300 internationally-run firms are located across Pennsylvania, employing around 350,000 people.

(Original air-date: 5/23/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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