Toyota exported its first shipment of Venzas through the Port of Brunswick, Ga., last week.
The cars departed on a "K" Line vessel for Russia and Ukraine, according to the Georgia Port Authority.
The move underscores the growth of exports by U.S. auto manufacturers as the industry rebounds from the 2008 global financial crisis and the United States becomes more competitive as a manufacturing center.
The Venzas are produced at Toyota's plant in Georgetown, Ky., which employs 6,000 people and is the company's largest manufacturing facility outside of Japan.
The Port of Brunswick's Colonel Island Terminal is the nation's third busiest autoport, handling 612,489 auto and machinery units in 2012. Twenty other domestic and foreign carmakers use the Port of Brunswick.
Through the third quarter of the current fiscal year, Brunswick has handled 458,061 vehicle units, an increase of 18 percent handled during the same period in the previous fiscal year, according to the port authority.
“Because of our direct interstate access and two Class I rail services, we can move exports from inland factories more efficiently, as well as move import cargo to destinations across the Southeast,” GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz said.
International Auto Processing won the contract to load the Toyotas on vessels. - Eric Kulisch