Ports & FTZs: Perfect Together

The nation’s ports are handling record amounts of shipping. Importers get more bang for the buck by moving their goods through duty-free foreign trade zones located within or adjacent to ports.

By the BF Staff
From the May/June 2017 Issue

Ports and foreign trade zones go hand-in-hand. Pick a major port and chances are there will be an FTZ either in the port itself or nearby. In terms of tariffs, FTZs enable goods to enter the United States without technically entering the U.S.

Created in the 1930s by the U.S government, a Foreign Trade Zone is an area within the United States, in or near a U.S. Customs port of entry, where foreign and domestic merchandise is considered to be outside the country. Certain types of merchandise can be imported into a zone without paying import duties. Customs duties and excise taxes are due when the merchandise is transferred from the Foreign Trade Zone for U.S. consumption. If the merchandise is re-exported, no duties or taxes are paid on those items. Merchandise in a zone may be assembled, exhibited, cleaned, manipulated, manufactured, mixed, processed, relabeled, repackaged, repaired, salvaged, sampled, stored, tested, displayed and destroyed.

Another definition of an FTZ states that it is an isolated, enclosed and policed area operated as a public utility, furnished with facilities for loading, unloading, handling, storing, manipulating, manufacturing and exhibiting goods and for reshipping them by land, water or air. Merchandise of every description may be held in the zone without being subject to tariffs (customs duties) and other ad valorem taxes. This tariff and tax relief is designed to lower the costs of U.S.-based operations engaged in international trade and thereby create and retain the employment and capital investment opportunities that result from those operations.

These special geographic areas—foreign-trade zones—are established “in or adjacent to” U.S. Ports of Entry and are under the supervision of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection under the United States Homeland Security Council. Since 1986, U.S. Customs’ oversight of FTZ operations has been conducted on an audit-inspection basis known as Compliance Reviews, whereby compliance is assured through audits and spot checks under a surety bond, rather than through on-site supervision by Customs personnel.

There are over 230 foreign-trade zone projects and nearly 400 subzones in the United States.

The U.S. foreign-trade zones program was created by the Foreign-Trade Zones Act of 1934. The Foreign-Trade Zones Act was one of two key pieces of legislation passed in 1934 in an attempt to mitigate some of the destructive effects of the Smoot-Hawley Tariffs, which had been imposed in 1930. The Foreign-Trade Zones Act was created to “expedite and encourage foreign commerce” in the United States.

Through World War II, manufacturing activity was allowed only on a very limited basis. In 1950, the original act was amended to open up FTZs to manufacturing, but it had little impact until 1980. In that year, Congress again amended the act so that products manufactured in the zones would not be assessed on U.S. value-added. This ensured that the only tariffs a producer inside the zone selling to U.S. customers would pay would be on the raw materials imported into the zone. This “integrated” model, which replaced the previous “island” model, spurred growth in the U.S. foreign-trade zones program.

Join us as we take our annual tour of some of the leading U.S. ports and FTZs.


The Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority operating three ports in the Heartland of America. Many people don’t realize that Indiana has ports, but more than half of the state’s border is water, with the Great Lakes to the north and the Ohio River to the south. The state boasts one of the most unique port systems in the country and it generates $7.8 billion per year for the regional economy.

ports and FTZs
The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon, part of America’s 6th largest inland port district, handled 3,300 barges in 2016 and has 600 acres of Greenfield industrial sites available. (Photo: Ports of Indiana)

The State of Indiana is located in the heart of the United States. Indianapolis, its capital city, is 1,950 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, 645 miles west of the Atlantic, and 715 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. Being far removed from an ocean would seem to be an obstacle for most ports, but that’s not the case in Indiana. The Ports of Indiana sees this as a competitive advantage. The state is connected to more than 400 miles of navigable waterways and is home to the median center of the U.S. population, which creates tremendous logistical advantages.

The Midwest state has three public ports—the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville and the Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon—located on the country’s two major inland waterways, which provide direct routes for maritime shipments in and out of America’s Heartland.

Indiana also proudly claims the moniker “Crossroads of America” because of its extensive highway system. Combine this with one of the most wide-ranging rail networks in the country, the largest steel-producing region in North America, and a thriving manufacturing and agriculture base, and it becomes evident how a port system could be so successful 645 miles from an ocean.

Handling more than 11 million tons of cargo per year, the three ports are home to 70+ companies and offer 1,000+ acres of available multimodal industrial sites in three different metropolitan areas. They also share a unique operational advantage because they are managed by a single statewide entity, the Ports of Indiana, the only statewide port authority operating in the Midwest. Established in 1961, the Ports of Indiana is a self-funded enterprise dedicated to growing Indiana’s economy by developing and maintaining a world-class port system.

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor is located in Portage, Ind., on the south shore of Lake Michigan, and is only 18 nautical miles from Chicago, providing a competitive advantage for shippers of steel, grain, dry/liquid bulk fertilizers, project cargo and minerals. Situated within the “Steel Capital of North America,” the port not only handles 1,000-foot Great Lakes vessels and ocean ships traveling via the St. Lawrence Seaway, but also barges, connecting to the 12,000-mile inland river system. Connections to Class I railroads and five interstates provide port customers strategic access to domestic and international markets.

The port is ideally positioned for companies that want to ship large-dimensional cargoes into the Midwest by water and avoid trucking them halfway across the country. Its established ability to handle heavy-lift freight continues to attract project cargoes from world markets and a large volume of equipment for the construction and expansion of refineries, automakers, fuel processing, breweries, wind farms and power plants has successfully been handled by the port.

The port consists of 600 acres with 110 acres available for development and 9,000 feet of dock space along Lake Michigan.

The Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville serves the top six auto manufacturers in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing auto supplier centers in the country. The multimodal terminal sits just across the Ohio River from Louisville, an area known for its auto and appliance manufacturing. The port provides year-round access to the Inland Waterways System and the Gulf of Mexico, while offering multimodal connections to railroads as well as direct access to I-64, I-65 and I-71 via I-265. The new I-265 Lewis & Clark Bridge, part of a $2.3 billion Ohio River Bridges Project, opened last December and is less than a mile from the port. It offers a shortcut around Louisville reducing travel from points east and south by 30 minutes or more. In addition, a $30 million transportation corridor will be constructed soon to connect the River Ridge Commerce Center, a 6,000-acre industrial park, to the port.

The Jeffersonville port’s “steel campus” welcomed its 13th company in 2016 with POSCO, a multinational firm headquartered in South Korea and the fifth-largest steel producer in the world. POSCO’s new wire rod center will process steel wire for fasteners, nuts and bolts used in the auto industry with production beginning later this year. The port has 300 acres of industrial sites available.

The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon is part of the sixth largest inland port district in the country. Serving an expansive geographic region including southwest Indiana and the entire Evansville metropolitan area, Indiana’s third largest city, port customers receive significant transportation cost advantages by being able to connect with five Class I railroads that serve all major U.S. markets and with barge lines that transload Indiana cargoes to and from ocean vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. Located only 153 miles from the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, this 1,200-acre port has 11 tenants and more than 600 acres of Greenfield industrial sites available for development. The port handled approximately 3,300 barges, 140,000 trucks and 40,000 railcars in 2016 and is home to advanced-handling technology, including a 60-ton overhead crane, and access to a 1,000-ton crane for heavy-lift cargo.

Come take a tour of Indiana’s ports. If you would like to see the Ports of Indiana’s unique facilities for yourself, you are welcome to come tour the ports. For more information about the Ports of Indiana, visit www.portsofindiana.com.


Located within a 54-mile stretch of the lower Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the Port of South Louisiana offers users a strategic location at the intersection of the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico and an intermodal transportation network of waterways, roadways, rail, and air featuring access to four interstate highways, four Class I railroads, the Louis Armstrong International Airport and the Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport.

ports and FTZs
Danos in Amelia, LA, is one of the most recent additions to FTZ 124. (Photo: Port of South Louisiana)

In 2016, the facilities within St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. James Parishes handled over 294 million short tons of cargo brought to its terminals via over 4,500 ocean-going vessels and 59,700 barges. For that reason, the Port of South Louisiana is the largest tonnage port district in the Western Hemisphere.

And with exports of over 67 million short tons of cargo, the Port of South Louisiana is not only the highest grain exporter in the United States (over 50 percent of the nation’s grain is exported from the Port of South Louisiana), it is also the highest ranked exporter in North America. Moreover, with over 56 million short tons of crude oil imports per year, four major oil refineries, and 11 petrochemical manufacturing facilities, the Port of South Louisiana has been ranked as one of the top energy transfer ports in the nation. The Port of South Louisiana also operates one of the most active Foreign Trade Zones (#124) in the country. With 16 zones, FTZ #124 received over $82 billion in merchandise and facilitated the employment of over 10,500 in 2015.

In the heart of the Port of South Louisiana lies the Globalplex Intermodal Terminal, a 335-acre maritime industrial park that provides handling and storage for bulk, break-bulk, and containerized cargos. Globalplex is designed to meet the specific needs of small- and mid-sized industrial, distribution, and manufacturing operations.

The River Region’s superior intermodal transportation network cannot be denied. For instance, from the Port of South Louisiana, Mexican and Latin American markets can be reached in two to seven days. The inland barge system, comprised of 19,262 miles of waterways, moves more than 148 million short tons of cargo upriver to 66 percent of the North American market (31 U.S. states and two Canadian Provinces).

Throughout the Port of South Louisiana jurisdiction, you will find an excellent highway system that feeds truck traffic into the region’s three major interstates (I-10, I-55, and I-12), which distributes traffic into the mainstream of the U.S. interstate system, allowing truck cargo to reach the furthest of the nation’s markets within three days. Via the three trunk line railroads that serve the Port (Canadian National, Kansas City Southern, and Union Pacific railroads), cargo can reach its destination within seven days. Lastly, in order to serve the needs of those who do business in the River Region, the Port of South Louisiana continues to revitalize the Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport. Since its acquisition in 2009, the Port of South Louisiana proceeded with its plans to revitalize the airport like extending the runway to 5,150 ft. with parallel taxiway, adding a state-of-the-art AWOS system, installing new tanks for Jet-A and AvGas fuels, refurbishing its FBO terminal, and the current construction of a 10,000 square-foot transient hangar.

The Port of South Louisiana has one of North America’s largest concentration of heavy manufacturers, a reflection of the strategic location, competitive market access, and highly-skilled labor pool that it enjoys. Industry leaders in the energy and chemical sectors continue to invest billions of dollars as they expand operations to capture market opportunities. These comparative advantages have attracted millions of dollars of investment by companies in the petrochemical, fertilizer, and logistics industries.

Located on the lower Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the Port of South Louisiana, Grantee FTZ 124, is a multi-modal port with deep water access, 3 trunk line railroads, easy access to Interstates and major highways and the Port’s Executive Regional Airport. Over 25,000 acres of land located on the Mississippi River are available for industries to locate their new facilities. Because of its location, Foreign Trade Zone 124 currently services six parishes (counties) with two more in the application stage and has a combination of 16 subzones and Alternative Site Framework sites.

“For two years in a row, we are number one in the merchandise received category in the Foreign Trade Zone Annual Report to Congress “, says Paul Aucoin, Executive Director of the Port of South Louisiana, “Our zones are some of the most active in the country due in large part to the oil industry.” The state of Louisiana as a whole is consistently ranked in the top 25 list of states in all FTZ activity.


New post-Panamax cranes, on-dock intermodal rail capability and expanded container services are among the many exciting new developments at Port Tampa Bay.

ports and FTZs
Artist rendering of Port Tampa Bay’s new, state-of-the-art refrigerated warehouse, opening Summer 2017. (Image: Port Tampa Bay)

The largest port in the state of Florida, both in terms of cargo tonnage and geographic area, Port Tampa Bay is also one of the most diverse ports in the United States handling a broad spectrum of imported and exported energy products, construction and building materials, food and beverage, consumer products, automobiles and agricultural products, as well as being a major cruise homeport welcoming over 1 million passengers/year and one of the largest hubs for shipbuilding and repair in the Southeast.

With a population of over 9 million people and welcoming more than 65 million tourist visitors per year, the Tampa Bay/Orlando I-4 Corridor region is a huge consumer market and home to the largest concentration of distribution centers in Florida, with over 219 DCs totaling over 87 million square feet of space. Now with over 20 million residents, Florida is experiencing one of the nation’s fastest population growth rates having recently overtaken New York as the third-most-populous state, with the Tampa Bay/I-4 Corridor region leading this growth as the fastest growing part of the state.

Last summer Port Tampa Bay and terminal operator partner Ports America received and installed two new post-Panamax cranes to complement the existing three gantry cranes and heavy-lift mobile harbor crane already in place. Together, Port Tampa Bay and Ports America have a multi-phased build-out plan to quadruple the size of the Port of Tampa Container Terminal from its current 40 acres with 2,800 linear feet of berth, to more than 160 acres and berth length of 4000 feet. This past fall also saw the completion of an additional 17,500 linear feet of rail giving the Port on-dock intermodal access. A dedicated truck ramp leading directly from the port to the interstate also provides a fast, efficient option for delivery to customers. New container services from Mexico offered by Linea Peninsular and TransGulf Shipping have recently joined global and regional container services offered by Zim, MSC, Atlantic RoRo and Seatrade.

Construction of a new on-dock 135,000 square foot refrigerated warehouse is also well underway at Port Tampa Bay by new tenant Port Logistics Refrigerated Services and scheduled to open in Summer of 2017. The Tampa Bay/I-4 Corridor region is located at the heart of Florida’s agriculture industry, and is home to the State’s largest cluster for the food and beverage sector, with leading brands such as Publix, Sysco’s International Food Group, Gordon Food Service, Walmart/Sam’s Club, Winn-Dixie, Trader-Joes, Save-a-lot, Aldi, United Natural Foods, Vigo/Alessi, Goya, Mario Camacho, Southern Wine & Spirits, Break-Thru Beverage, Coca Cola/

Minute Maid, Pepsico/Tropicana, Cutrale, Florida’s Natural, Citrus World, Wish Farms, Tampa Juice, Bama Sea Products, Tampa Bay Fisheries, etc., all with a significant presence in the area.

Foreign Trade Zone No. 79, serving the Tampa Bay/Interstate 4 Corridor, assists qualified importers, exporters, distributors and manufacturers by dramatically reducing or even eliminating U.S. Customs duties and fees. The administrative area of FTZ No. 79 extends 60 miles or a 90-minute drive from the port area encompassing the entire Central Florida region.

Essentially, the Tampa Bay FTZ project helps companies based in the Tampa Bay/I-4 Corridor market to streamline the process and minimize the costs associated with qualified importing, exporting, manufacturing, and distribution activities. Whether the conversation entails a warehouse & distribution operation solely for imports, an import-for-export operation, or a manufacturing operation that receives duty relief, the Tampa Bay FTZ project was designed to complement and improve an international supply chain strategy while at the same time minimizing overall costs.

Reflecting the diversity of Port Tampa Bay and the regional economy, FTZ No. 79 also has a very diverse client base whose commodities range from petroleum products such as jet fuel, to machinery and construction equipment, iron and steel products, electrical equipment, cosmetics and beauty products, to plastic and rubber products.

In addition to this diversity of commodities, the Tampa Bay FTZ project has a diversity of sites. The majority of the sites within the Tampa Bay FTZ project are sites for the use of individual companies with their particular operations. However, the FTZ site located at the Port essentially serves as a 3PL facility and handles commodities such as steel, construction equipment, and medical equipment.

All the companies that participant in the Tampa Bay FTZ project have utilized the FTZ attributes to minimize their operational cost or streamline their logistics strategy.


Minnesota FTZs are helping companies cut costs, create jobs and increase global competitiveness.

Red Wing Shoe Co. has been hand-making shoes and boots in southeastern Minnesota since 1905, using craftsmanship rarely found in today’s throwaway society. It’s an old-school company with customers from around the world.

But this old-school company found a new way to save money when it leveraged a U.S. Department of Commerce program to create foreign trade subzones at company distribution centers in Red Wing and Salt Lake City in 2015.

Micala Johnson, the company’s foreign trade specialist, said the designation enables Red Wing to eliminate duty on merchandise exported from its distribution centers to more than 100 foreign markets.

The company also can defer paying duty on imported merchandise stored at the distribution centers and eliminate duty on shoes that eventually have to be scrapped, either because they aren’t selling or are damaged. The company realizes significant savings related to U.S. merchandise processing fees (MPF) as well.

“We keep saying we wish we had done it years ago,” Johnson said. “It’s working to our benefit.”

Red Wing Shoe isn’t alone in seeing benefits from the program. Since it was created in 1934, the U.S. Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) program has helped thousands of companies cut costs, create jobs in the U.S. and increase global competitiveness.

These special zones—generally set up near international airports, seaports and border areas—allow companies to designate physical space as Foreign Trade Zones for storing foreign or domestic goods, repackaging materials, assembling products, and manufacturing or re-exporting goods—all while eliminating or deferring payment of normal customs duties. In essence, these spaces are duty-free islands on U.S. soil.

The more than 3,000 U.S. companies that use Foreign Trade Zones each year save millions of dollars on importing, exporting and manufacturing costs. Today there are more than 260 FTZs in the United States that handle at least $660 billion annually in shipments.

Three of those zones are in Minnesota: the Seaway Port Authority Zone in Duluth, the International Falls Foreign Trade Zone and the Greater Metropolitan Area Foreign Trade Zone in the Twin Cities. The Twin Cities zone contains four subzones, including the Red Wing site and others in St. Paul, Savage and Springfield. The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and an industrial park in Minneapolis are magnet sites in the Twin Cities.

Minnesota, it turns out, is one of the best places in the country for FTZs because of its central U.S. location, outstanding transportation logistics, and programs and services that encourage business growth.

When it comes to moving goods to and from global markets, Minnesota’s extensive transportation system gives it an edge over other states, particularly in the Midwest.

The Port of Duluth-Superior (where the Seaway Port Authority FTZ is located) is the farthest-inland freshwater seaport in North America and one of the leading bulk cargo ports on the continent. With the St. Lawrence Seaway as a conduit, the port connects the heartland of the United States and Canada to the world.

Three other Minnesota seaports are located on Lake Superior at Taconite Harbor, Silver Bay and Two Harbors. And the state boasts five water ports on the 222-mile Mississippi River system on the state’s eastern border.

Minnesota also abounds with railroads, with more than 4,500 miles of track serviced by 22 railroad companies. The International Falls FTZ, located on the U.S-Canadian border adjacent to Fort Frances, Canada, has access to the busiest rail port of entry in North America.

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), which serves more than 37 million passengers a year, consistently ranks among the best airports in the country. The MSP air cargo facility, served by 14 airlines, moved nearly 200,000 metric tons of cargo in 2015.

Last year the state’s strong lineup of transportation infrastructure was lauded by CNBC, which said Minnesota had the fifth-best state infrastructure in the U.S., based on such criteria as the vitality of its transportation system, including air, waterways, roads and rail.

Minnesota’s most active FTZ is the Greater Metropolitan Area Foreign Trade Zone in the Twin Cities, managed by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) in partnership with other local entities.

DEED is a natural fit to manage Minnesota’s busiest FTZ because the state agency is responsible for programs and services that encourage economic activity, including foreign trade. The agency’s Minnesota Trade Office provides programs and assistance that focus primarily on helping small and medium-sized companies.

Among other DEED programs and tools is STEP, which provides funding to help small businesses with export activity; the Job Creation Fund and Minnesota Investment Fund, which provide grants and loans that encourage businesses to expand; and the Shovel Ready Program, which certifies that commercial and industrial sites have completed all planning, zoning and other pre-development work.

DEED serves as a one-stop-shop that companies can tap for advice on these and other initiatives, including the FTZ program. The agency will work with companies to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of establishing an FTZ site and explore other logistics advantages of being in the program.

John Shoffner, a DEED business specialist who leads the Greater Metropolitan Area Foreign Trade Zone, said companies often are unfamiliar with the FTZ program or intimidated by it, fearing excessive government paperwork and oversight.

“A lot of companies are nervous about taking that plunge,” he said. “But once they are in the program, they are very happy with the results.”

For more information, visit the FTZ section on the DEED website (https://mn.gov/deed/) or contact Shoffner at john.shoffner@state.mn.us.


Tap into new markets from Curaçao, and watch your business take off; leverage your opportunities for expansion, using Curinde’s Free (Economic) Zones.

ports and FTZs
Entrance to a Free Economic Zone in Curaçao. (Photo: Curinde N.V. / Curaçao)

Located in the Southern part of the Caribbean Sea, Curaçao is an ideal vantage point for exploring new grounds. Obviously, one cannot set off on wild-goose chase and plant a business just anywhere, simply because the location is great. Starting a new venture in a new destination means investment of time and resources, which you want to use wisely.

As part of the Dutch Kingdom, Curaçao is a reliable choice. It has a robust banking system and a Dutch judicial system with the possibility to litigate in European Courts, should the need arise. The population is multilingual and well educated and the island basically has all the provisions that would be expected from a large metropolis, but in a relaxed yet sophisticated Caribbean atmosphere.

Reaching new markets… sounds great! But what is the deal really? When broadening a company’s horizon, a lot depends on the planned activity and not just on the location. Curaçao and Curinde have thought this through and created the right conditions to target new markets for different types of businesses.

To companies in manufacturing and wholesale, among other things, Curaçao offers easy access to multiple markets; favorable air and sea connections to most major destinations; and the possibility to ship in less than container load (LCL) to close-by regional markets. While the latter two are both very attractive advantages, it is particularly the first one that makes Curaçao a sure bet.

For those seeking to enter the Caribbean markets, Curaçao is an ideal place to use as single point of distribution for the entire Caribbean, with easy access to a potential market of over 100 million consumers.

ports and FTZs
The Curaçao Airport Free Economic Zone is located adjacent to the international airport in Hato, eight miles from the seaport. The first phase of the Airport Free Economic Zone covers a fully developed area of 30 acres with a total of 400,000 square feet of buildings (including warehouse, pictured). Further expansion of the zone (to a total of 103 acres) is planned in a second phase. (Photo: Curinde N.V. / Curaçao)

Not all branches have the same needs, though. If you are in the business of maintenance and repair, physical accessibility of the facility is more important. This, considering that there is no distribution of products but a service. Therefore, the most important factor is that Curinde’s two Free (Economic) Zones are conveniently located adjacent to the international airport and in the seaport, boasting all the facilities necessary to service ships crossing an interesting shipping route.

There is more to finding a business location than economic incentives, but they do make a big difference.

Attractive incentives may not be all that matter when choosing a Free Economic Zone to establish a business; but they certainly are at the top of the list of things that should be considered. Many Free Trade Zones offer a combination of factors that make it attractive to establish a business there. In addition to the structural dynamics that create a favorable environment to operate in, there are also the economic incentives. One may not realize this, but at the bottom line these could add up to make the determining difference in where to establish a new business.

First, there is the aspect of taxes. We’ve all been in business long enough to know that the amount of taxes we need to hand over to the government, at the end of the day can make or break our success. Many Free Economic Zones offer tax benefits with some rates as low as 0%. The Curaçao Free Economic Zones, for instance, offer the following basic tax incentives: no import duties, no turnover tax; two percent profit tax on export profits; and no land/property tax.

But perhaps your greatest edge of all in any type of business is that Curinde is here to help you reach these new markets faster. Tax incentives nowadays are basically a given for a Free Economic Zone to even be considered an attractive alternative to regular establishment in a jurisdiction. What is the use of a Free Economic Zone without these? That is why many zones also add other non- tax related incentives to differentiate their offering. As an investor in Curaçao, next to the basic tax incentives, you also benefit from:

  • Preferential financing through a development bank
  • 100% ownership of the business as a foreign investor

The first is an obvious benefit that needs no explanation. The second may not seem that significant, but it is a big advantage that you will not find everywhere. Many jurisdictions require local ownership to establish a company, often with a share of 50% or more. At the Free Economic Zones in Curaçao you can be full owner of your business, keeping 100% of your profits after tax.

In addition, Curaçao’s offering is unique in another way. A recent survey among business owners in Free Economic Zones in the region shows that the presence of Banking and Customs services on location greatly improves the efficiency of one’s operations, and Curaçao provides that.

ports and FTZs
The Curaçao Harbor Economic Zone is a fully developed fended-in business park covering an area of 57 acres located near the Curaçao container terminal. Support services include a customs clearance office at the main gate and banking facilities. (Photo: Curinde N.V. / Curaçao)

Free Economic Zones that offer you all the afore-mentioned benefits, as well as great amenities such as: turnkey facilities and infrastructure, security that meets international standards, Customs at the zone, an internationally renowned banking system, and a sophisticated cosmopolitan Caribbean lifestyle, make Curaçao the ideal destination to branch out your business.

And finally, an interesting note for those trading in high value goods: One of the zones in Curaçao is located adjacent to the seaport of Curaçao, while the other is right next to the airport, which minimizes the cost and risks of overland transport considerably. In this context, it is also worth mentioning that Curinde, manager and operator of these Free Economic Zones, is currently working on obtaining a security clearance level that will give the zone by the airport direct access to the airport tarmac. This means that goods would no longer have to leave the airport grounds, making this zone especially interesting for the trade in high-value goods such as gemstones and precious metals.

Curinde provides professional guidance during the establishment process in one of its business parks. For more information, please contact info@curinde.com.


Mercer County boasts a vibrant business community and robust economy. From our retail destinations to our warehouse and manufacturing facilities, Mercer County is open for business. It is an exciting time to consider New Jersey’s Capital County, which features one of the most stable economies in the nation and a strong consumer base you can’t find anywhere else in America. Visitors and businesses alike enjoy our proximity to the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. Our transportation infrastructure rivals that of any successful market—Mercer County has three major train stations along the NJ Transit Northeast Corridor Line; easy access to the New Jersey Turnpike and many major expressways; and an extensive bus system.

Now is the time to partner with us here in the Capital County, where we boast one of the most stable economies in the nation and a strong consumer base you can’t find anywhere else in America. Our highly skilled and educated workforce is one of the county’s strongest assets.

The future is ours to shape through hard work, smart business decisions and relationships that propel us to renewed prosperity.

“Mercer County government has strived to develop tighter relationships with the private sector, and these public-private bonds must continue if we are to remain the county in New Jersey that is the leader in business services, research, education, health care and government,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes.

In our Office of Economic Development and Sustainability, we feature several programs to encourage your business’s growth and success. Through our partnership with the Small Business Development Center, we provide businesses free one-on-one counseling, networking opportunities and a variety of business-related seminars throughout the year. We can also find available Mercer County properties through our site selection service and have an established Mercer County Loan Fund for businesses seeking financial assistance.

Under the Office of Economic Development, you will find our One Stop Career Center. The Center provides customized training assistance to employers and can offer businesses on-the-job training (OJT) grants. The OJT grant helps offset the salary during the initial six months that an individual is employed with the company.

An additional business incentive is Mercer County’s unique status as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) service area.

For almost 20 years, Mercer County has offered FTZ benefits to its designated county businesses. As you may know, FTZs are a tool that Mercer County businesses can use to increase their international competitiveness and provide users with the opportunity to lower costs and boost profits. FTZ business incentives include duty deferrals, reductions, or even elimination for products that move in and out of Mercer-based business facilities. In addition, Mercer County FTZ companies may have access to streamlined customs procedures through an arrangement with the Customs Border Patrol in Philadelphia and overall cash flow benefit for the FTZ business that can reduce, eliminate or defer its duty payments.

Best of all, companies that decide to take advantage of the Mercer County FTZ can do so anywhere within Mercer County. These FTZ advantages, along with our unique location, infrastructure and business programs, are just some of the reasons why Mercer County is a great place to do business!

For more on Mercer County, please visit www.mercercounty.org.