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Foreign Trade Zone: Benefits for new importers

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Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jul 2, 2019

Hey guys, I'm outlining my experience with a "Foreign Trade Zone" in my city, and thought it might be a useful resource for your import business.

A FTZ is pretty much custom bonded warehouse/facility, meaning you can defer payment of duties & taxes, and in case of re-export of cargo. Also avoid the applied duties/taxes all together considered they have never entered the “US consumption area”.

They support both large & small businesses through tariff savings programs, warehouse services, and office facilities.

Here’s a list of FTZ’s in the United States. You can google the zone numbers via which state you’re in. It looks like other countries have them as well.
Foreign-trade zones of the United States - Wikipedia

This is my own experience with an FTZ, so I’m unsure if it’ll be same experience with your area. Each state might be difference.

When my container arrived, I needed a special arrangement to haul it to the FTZ under a bonded transport. Once entered in FTZ, customs will process tariffs & taxes there. Merchandises is subject to approval before entering the FTZ.

What’s cool about this place, they have all your warehouse storage services. Forklift services were just $40 a month.


Usually I’ll email them ahead of time (usually 24hrs) to request a pick-up with the load amount. Once I arrive, I’ll check-in with the guard shack, and all my goods are ready to be loaded. They even help me with the loading.

I can assign anyone to pick up the goods as well.

Storage fees are based on cubic volume of product you have. There conduct monthly inventory audits. Storage fees will be adjusted accordingly based on how many volume you have.

Say I sell half my container; they’ll only charge me based on the amount of goods I have left.

My initial month storage fees came out to $504.00 for an entire 40HC container of goods.

Initial Set-up/labor fees were another $500. Roughly 14 Tons off-loaded



I did not compare prices to any 3PL’s. If anyone has experiences with them and pricing, I’d like to know:)

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Walter Hay

Legendary Contributor
Speedway Pass
Sep 13, 2014
World citizen
Thanks @James90 for a very valuable contribution to the forum. The benefits of using Free Trade Zones are generally not appreciated, and you have no doubt opened the minds of many importers on this forum.

in case of re-export of cargo. Also avoid the applied duties/taxes all together considered they have never entered the “US consumption area”.
In most countries when re-exporting products that you have imported and paid duty and tax on it is possible to obtain a rebate on duty and tax paid when for some reason you need to ship them out again.

This is of great value to importers who need to return goods to the supplier for some reason such as the goods being faulty. The process is not difficult, but anyone needing to do it should consult their freight forwarder. If you have used an FTZ the process is a breeze.


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