Port Canaveral is teaming up with Volusia County in an effort to attract more international business and jobs to the region.
The Canaveral Port Authority and Volusia County’s Division of Economic Development have signed a memorandum of understanding that establishes a working relationship promoting each other’s geographical and business advantages. The agreement aims to attract more global business by bringing more Florida-bound cargo to the region.
Port Canaveral commissioners unanimously approved the agreement during their January meeting.
“This collaborative effort with Volusia County provides opportunity to attract more global cargo operations to our port,” Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray said in a statement, detailing the agreement. “Strategic partnerships like this can attract new business, create jobs and promote economic development for the Central Florida region.”
Port Canaveral and Volusia County each maintain a foreign trade zone for the benefit of the Central Florida region.
Brevard County businesses active in the port's foreign trade zone include American Cruise-Aid Logistics, OneWeb Satellites, Raider Outboards and Seaport Canaveral.
Port Canaveral is more known as a cruise port than it is as a cargo port.
But, during its 2020-21 budget year that ended Sept. 30, Port Canaveral set a cargo record, as cargo revenue was $11.14 million, up 16% from the $9.63 million in previous budget year.
Among Port Canaveral's major cargo commodities are petroleum, slag, aggregates, lumber and salt.
Under this memorandum of understanding, the port and Volusia County will work together to attract new business development initiatives that require use of a deep-water port and access to the maritime shipping industry which the port can provide.
This effort could include such things as participating in outreach events with organizations and potential business entities to promote logistics, transportation and manufacturing benefits.
Trade zone advantages
Port Canaveral’s Foreign Trade Zone No. 136 was established in 1987, and encompasses all of Brevard County. The zone offers advantages to businesses dealing in international trade, such as free-trade cost discounts, duty-free storage and jet fuel for international flights.
The port says the zone "provides distinct advantages for businesses currently engaged in international trade or considering the possibilities."
For example, duty payment is deferred on items imported into a foreign trade zone until they leave the zone for domestic sale. So companies can avoid tying up money in customs duties on their inventory.
In addition, the value added to a product in a foreign trade zone — including cost of labor, overhead and profit — are exempt from customs duties, unlike value added in overseas production operations. So the more activities a company conducts within a zone, the more it saves.
Zone users also have the option of filing one customs entry per week, rather than a separate customs entries for each entry into the United States. So if a company has multiple shipments each week, it saves substantially on processing time and fees.
They also can receive repetitive shipments of the same items into a foreign trade zone without a formal customs release. This eliminates time-consuming documents and physical inspections of every delivery and can shorten transit time.
The foreign trade zone concept was developed to encourage international trade by U.S. companies and to preserve U.S. jobs.
Titusville-based Raider Outboards Inc. last fall became the newest participant in Port Canaveral's Foreign Trade Zone No. 136.
Company officials said that, as a member of the zone, Raider is able to bypass some U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulatory hurdles that delay the export of its modified outboard motors to foreign military forces.
“As a foreign trade zone operator, we anticipate our international business will experience increased growth opportunities," Raider Outboards President George Woodruff said.
Volusia 'excited' to be partner
Volusia County Economic Development Director Helga van Eckert said her department "is excited to partner with Port Canaveral. The partnership will benefit new and existing Volusia businesses as a conduit to new markets.”
Volusia County already has a similar agreement with the Jacksonville Port Authority, which was finalized last May. The Port of Jacksonville is Florida’s largest container port; one of the nation’s top vehicle-handling ports; and a major U.S port for the import and export of bulk, breakbulk and other cargoes.
In a statement, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault commended Volusia County’s partnership with ports.
"As we continue to invest in our state’s transportation system, including our ports, roads and rail, it’s rewarding to see those investments being put to work to benefit communities across county and regional lines," Thibault said. "This type of teamwork helps market Florida’s world-class infrastructure to the world, bringing more jobs and businesses to our state, while maximizing the return on the investments we’ve made for the citizens of Florida.”
The agreement between Port Canaveral and Volusia County will remain in effect for three years, although either party can unilaterally end the agreement with 60 days' written notice.
The Port Authority did not commit any money from the port's budget as part of this agreement.
Volusia County is promoting its own Foreign Trade Zone No. 198 as being "at the eastern gateway of Florida's High Tech Corridor," as well as within easy driving distance of two deep-water ports, two rail lines and several international airports."
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Port Canaveral, Volusia County join forces on foreign trade zone