Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) has confirmed that Honda will move volumes of its 2015 model year Fit, produced in Mexico, through the port of Brunswick for distribution to the US market. International Auto Processing (IAP) will handle the cars upon arrival.

While Brunswick has been exporting US-made Honda vehicles for some time, this is the first time the port has handled imports from the carmaker.

GPA board chairman, Robert Jepson, welcomed the move. “The port of Brunswick is strategically located to best serve the Southeast,” he said. “And because we have another 900 acres permitted for expansion, we can easily accommodate new business in the roll-on/roll-off market without congestion worries.”

As reported last month, Honda shipments from the carmaker’s plant in Celaya, Mexico, which is now producing the Fit model, are being brought to ports on the US East Coast service from Veracruz by Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL); Brunswick is one of those ports. The company is also delivering the Honda Fit through Davisville (Rhode Island) and Baltimore (Maryland).

“The use of short sea provides Honda with an alternative to ensure a high quality and consistent level of service to our dealers,” said Dennis Manns, American Honda’s assistant vice president for sales and logistics planning. “The Honda de Mexico team and American Honda have been collaborating closely to ensure a smooth launch and service to U.S. markets,” he added.

IAP president and CEO Robert Miller said that because Honda accessorises its vehicles for each of its markets at the manufacturing plant, IAP’s main responsibility will be speeding the shipments along.

“Our job at IAP is to expedite those vehicles through our facility and get them to the truckers who will complete the last leg of the journey,” Miller said.  “We will be using around 10 acres for these vehicles. The impact on employment has yet to be determined, but we're thinking an additional 10 to 15 workers will be needed.”