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Front Page » Business & Finance » 35 new foreign trade zone hubs likely

35 new foreign trade zone hubs likely

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Written by on August 18, 2015

35 new foreign trade zone hubs likely

Port officials estimate Prologis, one of the world’s largest industrial property owners, should receive permission in the near future to create a foreign trade zone magnet hub in Northwest Miami-Dade County, adding to the growing number of sites PortMiami oversees since winning approval to create a foreign trade zone three years ago.

The magnet site that Prologis seeks would function within a far larger foreign trade zone that PortMiami operates, stretching from Southwest Eighth Street to the Broward County line, said Eric K. Olafson, manager of trade development and Foreign Trade Zone 281 at PortMiami.

He anticipates Prologis, which wants to operate 320,000 square feet as a magnet foreign trade zone in the Beacon Lakes Industrial Park that it owns and is building out, will hear about its application in less than 60 days.

Magnet operations, Mr. Olafson said, encompass a greater area than usage-driven sites, and aim to attract multiple operators rather than a single company.

“We have this alternative system to set up additional foreign trade zones,” Mr. Olafson said. “In just three years, we’ll have 35, probably more than any county in the nation.”

Foreign Trade Zone 281 was established by county commissioners under the alternative site framework on Aug. 2, 2012. The zone currently has a service area that includes the northern half of Miami-Dade and consists of 34 sites including three magnet sites: Site 1, 520 acres, Dante B. Fascell Port of Miami. 1015 North America Way; Site 2, 423 acres with a sunset on Aug. 2, 2022, Flagler Logistics Hub, 6875 NW 58th St.; and Site 3, 419 acres, with a sunset on Aug. 2, 2017, Flagler Station, 10505 NW 112th Ave.

The proposed Site 31 for Prologis is adjacent to the Miami Customs and Border Protection port of entry.

The economic benefit of the sites to Miami is enormous, Mr. Olafson said. The federal government controls foreign trade zones, which are based near seaports and airports and allow merchandise to enter the US or be held without paying Customs duties or other ad valorem taxes, offering US businesses a level playing field in competing with companies abroad.

With the growing number of foreign trade zones here, Mr. Olafson said, major retailers will use Miami for distribution to North American markets as well as in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Miami-Dade has 280 million square feet of warehouse space and [the market] is still growing,” he said. “The more warehouses built here, the more merchandise will be coming.”

The benefits also complement air freight, Mr. Olafson said. Merchandise coming through Miami International Airport can be put through a foreign trade zone.

“The dredge [to deepen the seaport], more foreign trade zones than anywhere in the nation – it’s all coming together to make Miami a global logistics hub,” he said. Moreover, Mr. Olfason said, PortMiami signed a memorandum of understanding in March with the Free Trade Zone Associations of Panama.

“The MOU states that PortMiami FTZ 281 and the Panamanian Free Trade Zone Associations will collaborate on promoting bilateral trades, expanding our trade zones and sharing best practices,” he said. “This agreement is the first of its kind.”

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