New Jersey Prospers Because of Its Reach
04 Apr, 2015
By Rachel Hamilton
New Jersey’s economy is diversified and strong because of its highly educated workforce and ability to reach a large population of prosperous consumers.
In fact, 130 million consumers are within a day’s drive of New Jersey, says Michael Chrobak, chief economic development officer of Choose New Jersey Inc. With all those consumers, New Jersey created a law to improve the business climate.
“The new legislation reduced the threshold for companies to qualify in terms of job creation,” Chrobak says. The Economic Opportunities Act of 2013 (EO 13) provides $300 million in tax incentives — known as the Grow New Jersey incentives — for eligible projects.
From the time the EO 13 was signed into law in September 2013 until January of 2015, Grow New Jersey has been responsible for “88 projects and more than $1.7 billion in investment,” Chrobak says, adding that it has “potential to create over 10,000 new jobs and retain over 12,000 jobs.”
“The Economic Opportunities Act of 2013 [provides] significant incentives to locate in Camden, New Jersey,” says Louis Cappelli, Camden County freeholder director, explaining that businesses “receive substantial tax credit to help fund their location into Camden.”
Camden is a Garden State Growth Zone (GSGZ) designated by the EOA 2013. Businesses can receive up to $30 million in tax credits in a GSGZ, but in Camden the credit is up to $35 million.
The Philadelphia 76ers, the NBA team based in Philadelphia, announced that they will “move their offices from Philly to Camden and build a practice facility,” Cappelli says.
He adds that Subaru of America announced they will “build corporate headquarters right next to Campbell’s Soup.” The Campbell Soup Co. has had its headquarters in Camden since it was founded in 1869. The expansion “has the potential to create 100 new jobs,” Chrobak adds.
“The Economic Opportunities Act of 2013 really gives us the tools to attract businesses and grow the port,” says Jay Jones, deputy executive director of the South Jersey Port Corp. (SJPC).
The SJPC is a public port authority and works to create public and private partnerships in the “two terminals in Camden, a facility on Camden County, and a foreign trade zone,” that they run, Jones says — that is FTZ 142 to be exact.
The SJPC has a large new project in the new Paulsboro Marine Terminal, which is located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia International Airport. Jones explains that the SJPC is turning “an old tank farm into a marine terminal,” and that they plan to have it open late 2015 or early 2016.
The first tenant of the terminal will be Holt Logistics Corp., Jones says, explaining that Holt is a private terminal operator.
The SJPC saw its second year of increased tonnage, Jones says. In 2014, tonnage increased by 24 percent overall, and in steel they saw a 65 percent increase over the 2013 totals.
Down to Business
- New Jersey has offered its Urban Enterprise Zones Program since 1983 to businesses that create private sector jobs with private and public investment, and the program offers incentives like reduced sales tax, tax exemptions for energy and certain purchases, and tax credits per job created.
- New Jersey’s state sales tax is 7 percent, but falls to 3.5 percent for many tangible goods and services in the urban enterprise zones.
- All 21 counties in New Jersey are classified as metropolitan areas, and it is the only state with that distinction for all counties.
- The Port of New York and New Jersey is ranked No. 1 in the nation, as of 2013.
Industries and Innovations
“New Jersey is committed to growing key industries in the state,” Chrobak says. He identifies seven target sectors: life science, financial services, information technology, logistics, manufacturing, energy and aerospace, aviation and defense.
Among those industries, New Jersey has “over 270 foreign companies and five foreign trade zones,” Chrobak says.
“Life sciences and food are the fasted growing,” he continues, explaining that the growth has given New Jersey two nicknames: “Medicine Chest of the World” and the “Garden State.”
“Health science and biotechnology industries are doing very well,” Cappelli says, explaining that those sectors are seeing growth in Camden County in manufacturing medical implants and refrigeration of medical products.
New Jersey is home to 14 of the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies and has more than 3,100 pharmaceutical companies overall, Chrobak says. Those include Amicus Therapeutics, Stryker, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Becton, Dickinson & Co. and Actavis.
“Food and food processing companies are doing very well in Camden County,” Cappelli says. Campbell’s is one among several.
New Jersey’s food processing and agriculture sector is home to 1,900 food manufacturing companies, and has increased employment by 3 percent since 2010, Chrobak says. In addition to Campbell’s, New Jersey is also home to Goya Foods, Inc., Mondelēz International, Jimmy’s Cookies and many others.
The state sees $1.2 billion in farm revenue, Chrobak says, and that’s mainly in fruits and vegetables including cranberries, bell peppers and peaches.
The SJPC has 1 million square feet of warehouses for cocoa exchange in the Camden International Commodities Terminal, as a part of the increase they have seen in tonnage, Jones says.
Steel was the biggest part of that increase, of course. Steel processors have an advantage when locating near the port, Jones says. “Camden Yards Steel is a steel processor,” he explains, “They can take raw materials from storage here right to the factory. That reduces the cost of handling and re-handling materials.”
Holtec International, an energy technology company that is working to develop new nuclear power generation technology, has leased 50 acres from the SJPC with one of the largest tax credits —$260 million spanning 10 years, Jones says.
Holtec is building a Technology and Manufacturing facility in Broadway, and it will rely on the SJPC to handle its import and export cargo through the SJPC’s network of stevedores.
Talent and Education
“New Jersey has more scientists and engineers per square mile than anywhere in the world,” Chrobak says. He says this may be due to the fact that “New Jersey is home to 63 colleges and universities.”
New Jersey is also home to the prestigious Princeton University, and has 11 universities that grant doctorates in STEM fields.
Rutgers University, Rowan University, the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine are all located in Camden County. Rutgers is building a nursing school and Rowan is expanding the medical school, Cappelli says.
“We have an outstanding county workforce training program,” Cappelli says. “We are prepared in Camden County to train all aspects of the workforce.” The training program partners with Camden County Community College and new companies locating in the county.
The ports in New Jersey employ many longshoreman, and in fact, in New Jersey, more people are employed in trade, transportation and utilities than any other nonfarm category that the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures. The SJPC specializes in break bulk cargo handling, which Jones says is usually very labor-intensive, so they help employ many workers.
New Jersey has a business incubation network of 13 incubators for technology, life science, clean energy, and other fields, Chrobak says. In 2011, Gov. Chris Christie’s administration formed the New Jersey Talent Network, which provides grants for businesses and helps employers connect with talent throughout the state.
“New Jersey really is a brain trust,” Chrobak says.
A distribution center in central New Jersey can serve 130 million consumers with same-day deliveries, Chrobak says. This is in addition to access to international waterways and Newark Liberty International Airport, which he says provides 105 international destinations and access to 90 U.S. cities every day.
Camden County is home to the South Jersey Port Corp., and “Route 295 and the New Jersey Turnpike are very important roadways for moving products,” Cappelli says, adding that the state’s railway systems also run right through Camden County.
The Port of New York and New Jersey is the third-largest port in North America; it will be able to serve post-Panamax ships by 2017, Chrobak asserts, after the Panama Canal expansion is completed.
The Army Corps of Engineers is working on deepening the Delaware River to 45 feet, Jones says, explaining that while those post-Panamax ships require a depth of at least 55 feet he predicts that larger ports, such as the Port of New York and New Jersey may wind up turning away smaller ships. If so, he says, they may come up the river to the South Jersey Port.
The SJPC purposefully looks for opportunities for companies to locate near the port or in the hinterland so companies can save on transporting their goods and raw materials back and forth to their ships, Jones says.
Public transit in New Jersey is particularly good, as Chrobak and Cappelli both attest. Trains and buses can bring commuters across the river from Philadelphia or all the way down from New York City.
Outdoors and Recreation
New Jersey’s Atlantic City offers gaming and a boardwalk experience to tourists and locals alike.
Reaching those nearby cities so easily is a big bonus for living in New Jersey, Chrobak says.
“Education wise,” he says, “New Jersey schools are consistently rated top in the nation.” In 2014, they were rated No. 1 by WalletHub. The relatively high density of medical schools in the state makes for an excellent health care network, he says.
Camden is about an hour away from the Jersey Shore, Cappelli says. Chrobak adds that the state has 39 state parks and beaches all together.
“New Jersey has a rich multicultural environment that’s diverse and second to none,” Chrobak says. He also notes that MetLife Stadium, shared home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets, is located in East Rutherford.
Illustration by Stuart Miles at Free Digital Photos.net