Port of Albany sees opportunities in its status as a foreign trade zone

It’s World Trade Week and to celebrate the occasion, trade leaders in New York State are talking about foreign trade zones.

Foreign Trade Zones, or FTZs, are areas near U.S. Customs and Border Protection ports, essentially our country’s version of the free trade zones we see around the world and which experts say can help solve some of the most urgent problems plaguing supply. chain.

“We are the furthest inland that ocean-going vessels can go,” said Richard Hendrick, CEO of the Port of Albany.

And with a U.S. Customs office on site, the Port of Albany serves as a port of entry where incoming and outgoing cargo can be cleared.

“It gives the manufacturer the opportunity to not have to put the load on the road,” says Hendrick.

It is also the center of a foreign trade zone.

“A physical location within the borders of the United States, or its territories, but outside the economy of the United States,” explains Thomas Cook, CEO of Blue Tiger International.

It offers companies operating within the FTZ a streamlined customs process and tax deferment.

“Only when it becomes public is there an obligation to pay taxes, so the biggest benefit of it is the cash flow benefit,” Cook said.

North American distribution centers that export products around the world never have a liability because the goods will never have entered the U.S. economy.

“It’s kind of hard for people in Albany to realize that they’re connected to maritime commerce,” said John Polowczyk, executive director of EY.

That, in turn, makes the Port of Albany part of the world’s struggling supply chains.

“Many of these challenges are manifesting in inflation,” Polowczyk said.

Experts attribute the conflict to a number of factors: geopolitical tensions, natural disasters and conflict, to name a few.

“You’re seeing a scarcity of products, not because we can’t make them, but because there’s disruption somewhere else,” Polowczyk said.

It was part of the conversation at a symposium at the port Monday, with one solution focusing on free trade zones.

“We hope that after today we can educate people about the opportunities here at the Port of Albany and work to bring them here with their manufactured goods,” Hendrick said.

The Port of Albany is the largest public port and logistics hub in New York State, with the FTZ serving ten counties, including Washington, Fulton and Greene counties.