In 2013, when WTCSav became the grantee of FTZ 104, the zone had eight operators. In 2019 alone, FTZ 104 welcomed five new operators bringing the total count to 19. The new operators include Keen Transport, Pacific Cycle, Shaw Industries, ELK Group International and Noble House. The 19 operators represent three manufacturing companies and 16 warehouse distribution facilities.
In 2019, FTZ 104 had 3,166 employees engaged in foreign-trade zone activities. FTZ 104 operators received $2.42 billion worth of merchandise and $1.7 billion through imports. Additionally, $2.22 billion in shipments left the zone with $158 million worth of goods being exported.
FTZ 104 also saw internal growth. One operator added three sites within the zone in 2019 because of continued expansion, bringing their total count to five sites and increasing their footprint in both Bryan and Chatham Counties since joining the program in 2014. This operator is just one example of the additional developments that are occurring.
The zone has experienced growth for a multitude of reasons. World Trade Center Savannah continues to proactively market the FTZ program to companies in the 16-county region that it serves through a structured approach backed by research identifying importers that should find value in the program based on their commodity, import volume and source of imports. Each November, WTCSav also hosts a half-day program open to the public to educate participants on the ins and outs of the program, its history, benefits and requirements.
Companies both big and small can reap the benefits of the program, and there are no export requirements that need to be met to become an operator. Foreign-Trade Zone operators enjoy duty exemption, duty deferral, duty reduction, merchandise processing fee reductions, streamlined logistics and quota avoidance. As of today, the companies that participate in the program in FTZ 104 are a combination of warehouse/distribution facilities and manufacturing companies, both multi-national and locally owned and represent a variety of industries.
Foreign-Trade Zones provide economic benefits to the Southeast Georgia region, the state and the nation. They offer a competitive advantage for United States-based manufacturing and distribution companies. As a result, jobs that otherwise might be located abroad are created and retained in the United States.