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This photo taken Aug. 21 shows the auto shop of International Auto Processing on Colonel’s Island. The logistics company has imported and exported more than 5 million vehicles since 1986.

Tyler H. Jones/The Brunswick News

Anyone who has ever been to the port at Colonel’s Island knows one thing: It’s not the kind of place you want to forget where you parked your car.

The sprawling facility is packed with new cars and SUVs, all shipped in from across the globe and headed to dealerships around America.

A large portion of the port is dedicated to International Auto Processing, or IAP, a logistics company that has processed more than 5 million vehicles since 1986.

“We process new autos from production to dealerships,” said Don Asdell, IAP’s president. “We ship by rail, road and ship, and we make up about two thirds of all the activity at the port.”

Many of the vehicles reach the port by ship, and crews of drivers can unload an entire ship — about 3,500 vehicles — in eight hours or so, Asdell said. IAP leases more than 250 acres to park all the cars, and the company is planning to expand by the end of the year.

And IAP doesn’t just move cars as part of a logistics chain. The company performs quality checks on all the various makes and models that roll through its operation. The more than 300 people who work at IAP can customize cars for dealerships, fix minor damage that sometimes occurs during shipping and even do paint jobs.

“We wash somewhere between 800 and 1,000 cars every day,” Asdell said. “Annually, we process about 420,000 vehicles per year.”

It’s not just Hyundais, Kias, Mercedes-Benzs, Toyotas, Hondas, Volkswagens and General Motors that pass through IAP, either. The company helps ship heavy earth-moving equipment and even helicopters.

The operation is thriving, thanks in large part to the port’s three berthings and access to rail and the interstate, Asdell said.

“The Port of Brunswick couldn’t be doing better,” he said. “And we’re planning to expand on the south side.”

As one of the Golden Isles’ economic drivers, Asdell said his company is committed to being a good neighbor and supporting local initiatives and programs like Newspapers in Education.

“We are probably one of the main supporters of community events,” Asdell said. “We don’t get new customers from it, but we’re trying to be a good community partner.”

Asdell said IAP supports Newspapers in Education, or NIE, because he sees the value in local journalism and its role in teaching students the importance of being informed.

“I travel a lot, so I’m always on the road,” he said. “I try to pick up newspapers when I’m out of town, and I’ve noticed a huge decline in people reading. If not for NIE, kids might not see it.”

For more information about IAP, visit the company’s website at www.goiap.com. IAP is a sponsor of Newspapers in Education.