Shipping firm picks Gwinnett for North American HQ

A Middle Eastern shipping firm plans to put its North American headquarters in Gwinnett County and create 160 jobs, the company and government officials announced Thursday.

United Arab Shipping Co., a joint venture of the governments of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, will locate its customer service, accounting and finance and logistics operations out of a facility on Spalding Drive in Peachtree Corners.

“Traditionally we’ve had a strong presence in the South Atlantic market and we believe that the Metro Atlanta area will offer us access to a pool of skilled employees,” Anil Vitarana, president of United Arab Shipping North America, said in a news release. “The excellent global airline network and the quality of life that the area will provide our staff also factored in our decision.”

The metro Atlanta operations will put the company close to both Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the state’s ports in Savannah and Brunswick.

“This new headquarters in Gwinnett County underscores the pro-business assets that exist in Georgia,” state Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr said in the release. “Our interconnected highways and waterways, combined with a ready-to-work community, create the ideal location for innovative companies like United Arab Shipping to relocate its headquarters.”

The state said the company will invest “double-digit millions” of dollars in the new facility.