Crowley Maritime Corporation’s Caribbean logistics unit has recently been granted reclassification of its Puerto Rico warehousing and distribution center to Foreign Trade Zone status.
This allows the facility, located in Free Trade Zone #61 in Guaynabo, to receive, store and process cargo without it being subject to formal U.S. Customs entry procedures and payment of duties until the cargo enters the U.S. supply chain and is made available for domestic use and consumption, the company explained.
Those cargoes being cross-docked or processed at Crowley’s warehouse prior to re-export internationally receive the same treatment as they would moving overseas or outside of the U.S. and its territories — no duties or quota charges and no state, ad valorem or personal property taxes.
Additionally, cargo can now remain in Crowley’s FTZ facility for an unlimited amount of time, which is a significant change from the previous 14-day deadline associated with bonded cargoes.
“Becoming a Free Trade Zone allows Crowley to offer additional services and benefits to both domestic and international customers,” said Ayesha Díaz, general manager, logistics. “These expanded capabilities and services allow us to work with new customers that we were not able to serve in the past.”
Under the new FTZ designation, customers who utilize Crowley’s building 11 warehouses for imported goods will not be charged quotas or duties on cargo that is re-exported or on expired goods or those deemed defective or damaged. If the cargo consists of spare parts, no duties will be paid until the parts are used, the carrier explained.
Additionally, imported merchandise for which a quota is filled or for which a quota on entry is established, may be held in the zone until the quota opens or is removed. Exporters also receive benefits in that domestic goods moved into the zone for export can be considered exported upon admission to the zone for purposes of excise tax rebates and drawback.
“While the availability of FTZ status for customer cargo may be new, what remains unchanged is the expert level of cargo movement and processing services Crowley is known for. Customers can still utilize a plethora of liner and logistics services for shipments between Puerto Rico, the U.S. mainland, the Eastern and Western Caribbean, and to/from Central America,” the company said.
Additionally, with an upgraded fleet of equipment, including the recent acquisition of more than 500 new refrigerated containers in time for the busy Central America growing season, and a fully-integrated online cargo management system, customers are ensured the right equipment for the move and real-time tracking and receiving information along with product allocations, order processing, inventory control and delivery confirmation offerings.
Crowley’s services include: ocean, air or over-the-road freight; door and scheduled deliveries; import and export consolidations; cargo insurance; warehousing and inventory management; Customs brokerage; freight forwarding; tax clearance with the Treasury Department; intra-island trucking (less-than and full-container loads); cross docking; cargo segregation; container loading; pick and pack; packing and crating; labeling, and scanning services to facilitate cargo tracking.
This is the latest announcement Crowley has made in recent weeks, including an expansion of its Port of San Juan facilities, where it employs about 300 people in Puerto Rico with an annual payroll of over $21 million, as well as plans to build two larger, faster and environmentally-friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered, combination container – Roll-On/Roll-Off (ConRo) ships for the Puerto Rico trade lane to replace the current triple-deck towed barges. The new vessels carry at $350 million investment, as this media outlet reported.
These new ships will decrease transit times, maximize cargo carriage and significantly reduce CO2 emissions. These vessels will create approximately 100 new jobs on the island and come with the possibility of additional investments to the tune of $58 million into the infrastructure of Isla Grande Terminal.