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General Purpose FTZ warehouses offer many advantages to importers

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Customers benefit from lower costs, import fees

Since 1934, US Foreign Trade Zones have been a benefit to our national economy. By providing an incentive for  foreign  manufacturers  to  establish factories on US soil, the FTZ program has been a major factor in enabling our country to compete on the global manufacturing stage. At the same time, local economies have benefited greatly from the FTZ program, as large international manufacturers like BMW have transformed communities such as ours by building massive plants that employ thousands of workers directly and tens of thousands indirectly. We South Carolinians owe as many thanks as any other state to the FTZ program and the business it has attracted to our home, and those of us that form part of global supply chains should understand and capitalize on its benefits.

Foreign Trade Zones such as Swafford Warehousing are known as General Purpose Zones. (Photo/Swafford Warehousing)A US Foreign Trade Zone, better known as a Free Trade Zone in other countries, is an area within the borders of the United States that is legally outside of the US Customs Zone. Normally located near a port, FTZs are quite secure and are under the supervision of US Customs and Border Protection. Any activity that occurs in the zone must be approved by Customs, and any foreign merchandise that comes into or leaves the Zone must be reported to Customs in great detail. Each FTZ is operated by a public or private corporation, such as Swafford Warehousing, who operates FTZ 03814, and BMW Plant Spartanburg, who operates FTZ 038A.

Many Zone Operators benefit directly from the use of their Zone, as is the case with BMW Plant Spartanburg. However, FTZs such as Swafford Warehousing are known as General Purpose Zones, and we differ in that we do not benefit directly from the FTZ program, but instead offer our Zone to any company who would like to benefit from its use. We at Swafford Operate our FTZ on behalf of our customers, transacting Customs business on their behalf and ensuring that all activity meets Customs requirements for security, accuracy, and traceability.

But, what are the benefits of using a General Purpose FTZ warehouse such as Swafford Warehousing? For starters, our FTZ customers rest assured that their property is being stored and handled by a Customs-approved warehouse running an extremely accurate and secure operation with unlimited visibility and traceability. We at Swafford accomplish this through the use of our WMS and FTZ management systems, as well as through ISO certified process controls. Secondly, companies can experience the benefits of an FTZ without the substantial time and money invested in becoming one themselves. At Swafford, our FTZ customers can come onboard in as little as a week, at no upfront cost, and very little recurring cost. Compare that to the year(s) spent and tens of thousands of dollars invested in applying for and activating an FTZ, not to mention hiring and training competent staff and implementing Customs compliant systems.

There are also many financial benefits of using an FTZ such as Swafford Warehousing. Most of our Zone Users enjoy complete duty elimination, as their merchandise is imported into the country, stored in our FTZ warehouse, and shipped to BMW Plant Spartanburg, without ever having to pay any duties. Other customers enjoy deferral of duties on goods that are stored in our warehouse, with taxes only due when the goods are entered into commerce, much closer to the sale of the goods and the generation of revenue. Some customers also benefit from weekly entries, which FTZ can process once for all goods that ship from the zone in an entire week, greatly reducing Customs and broker fees.

Having experienced the process of applying, activating and operating an FTZ first hand, my colleagues at Swafford Warehousing and I are very experienced in the complexity of running a successful FTZ and know very well how valuable that experience is. With years of successful FTZ operation, we are one of the few General Purpose Foreign Trade Zones in Upstate South Carolina offering FTZ benefits to local and international manufacturers. We believe we are a force for good in our local economy, and we look forward to many more years of successful operation.

Swafford Warehousing

1630 Old Hwy 14 South | Greer, SC 29651
864-848-3854 | 1-800-366-1895

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