Japanese firms invest in the Houston industrial scene

Although Japan is located across the Pacific Ocean, business owners from the Asian nation have a vested interest in establishing stronger connections with partners in the Houston-based industrial hub. One of the big reasons for the international partnership is Houston's leverage in the energy sector. Specifically, Japanese companies have paid close attention to the advances being made in liquefied natural gas and the petrochemical industry at large.

Japanese consul-general explains the trans-Pacific connection
The Houston-based consul-general from Japan, Nozomu Takaoka, recently told the Houston Business Journal that the Texas city will not only play a strategic role in supporting the Asian country's energy policies, but also be home to new business opportunities. According to the Journal, more than one-third of liquefied natural gas exports was sent to Japan. However, it usually went through intermediaries, which increased prices. Instead, the Asian country and energy-rich city are expected to establish a direct link, which will lower costs significantly.

There's also predicted to be more job opportunities. For instance, Freeport LNG Expansion LP has begun cooperating with a number of Japanese utility companies, resulting in a $1 billion cash investment to construct a new liquefied natural gas and loading facility in Freeport, Texas. These new structures will require the knowledge and expertise of experienced petrochemical engineers to ensure the partnership reaches its full potential.

Mitsubishi transplants forklift manufacturing
The Japanese owner of Caterpillar Forklift America decided to put its manufacturing facility in the heart of Houston's industrial park. The move came about as a result of an operational need. The has been a spike in demand for forklifts for freight arriving at the Port of Houston, The Houston Business Journal indicated. As a result, business customers in need of equipment will likely face shorter delivery times, as the supply chain within the metropolitan are is much less complex than dealing with the logistics of international shipping.

This is especially important considering the prominent role the Port of Houston plays in importing and exporting goods. In 2013, it was named the leading port for foreign trade, the Journal wrote. Mitsubishi has also invested in a manufacturing facility that will produce electric forklifts. They will primarily be used in warehouses and distribution centers, where their smaller sizes are more applicable.

Foreign investment in U.S. locations means there will likely be more opportunities for employees with technical abilities to find satisfying work. Still, supply chain recruiters can help employers like Mitsubishi find top talent and ensure the success of their new projects.