Trade: Brownsville, Vancouver, Virginia

The Port of Brownsville is home to the top-ranked Foreign Trade Zone for exports in the United States and Texas, according to a recent report. Port Metro Vancouver is investing more than CAD$100 million as part of the Canadian government’s Beyond the Border Action Plan to open new markets in Asia. The U.S. government recently approved the resumption of hardwood log exports to China, benefiting the Virginia Port Authority.

Brownsville FTZ Ranked Number One for Exports

According to the 2012 74th Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) Annual Report, the Port of Brownsville ranked No. 1 of the Top 25 Foreign Trade Zone Exports in the United States and the State of Texas leading the way by ranking No. 1 in exports to foreign countries.

The port exported commodities valued more than $3 billion dollars. The top commodities moved were offshore exploration and production platforms, petroleum products, metals and steel. The 2012 74th FTZ Annual Report can be accessed through the NAFTZ Association and the FTZ Board.   

The Port of Brownsville is the Grantee for Foreign Trade Zone No. 62 and offers sites at the Port of Brownsville, Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport, Harlingen Industrial Park and Airpark, NAFTA Industrial Park and FINSA Industrial Park at Los Indios. Zone status is available to any of the port’s properties. 

Port Director and CEO Eduardo A. Campirano stated, "The Port of Brownsville continues to grow as an international leader in world trade. Our ranking as the No. 1 FTZ and port in the nation is very important to our role as the most significant logistics center in the region."

The Port of Brownsville is a leading in-transit port and major importer of steel in the United States. The port is guided by its vision to create quality jobs, attract private and public investment, increase its cargo handling capacity and promote the common good of the region by strategic economic development of its land holdings.  

Port Metro Vancouver and Canadian Government  Investing to Open New Markets in Asia

As part of the government of Canada’s commitment to the Beyond the Border Action Plan, an investment of CAD$49.9m is being made by the port in two new marine container examination facilities to meet the anticipated growth in container volume through Deltaport, BC.

Ed Fast, minister of international trade, said: "I am proud to announce our government's investment, which will help increase our exports to new markets by moving goods, services and people in a more effective manner."

The new Roberts Bank facility will be located at the east end of the Deltaport causeway on the Tsawwassen First Nation Industries Lands and is expected to open in the summer of 2015. The other Burrard Inlet facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.

Port Metro Vancouver says they will help reduce processing times, resulting in savings for Canadian businesses, while protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians.

"Once operational, the facility will reduce travel time and related emissions by a factor of 10 and, since the facility is located on TFN lands, it is anticipated that there will be both construction and full-time employment opportunities available to TFN members," added Robin Silvester, president and CEO, Port Metro Vancouver.

Hardwood Log Exports to Resume Through Norfolk

The Port of Virginia will benefit from the reestablishment of American hardwood log exports to China as that country recently lifted its trade ban on the raw material.

"This is good news because it reopens an important market for companies that export hardwood logs to China via The Port of Virginia," said Rodney W. Oliver, interim executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. "A lot of work went into this effort on both the federal and state levels; we believe it will reenergize this piece of export business."

The USDA – APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) and the Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services played critical roles in this effort, Oliver said.
Two years ago, all log shipments exported to China by way of The Port of Virginia and The Port of Charleston (SC) were banned by the Chinese government because of concerns over invasive pests.

Following months of negotiations and extensive research, the Chinese began a year-long pilot program in June 2012 that allowed for the export of both hard and softwoods. The recently completed analysis of that pilot program reopens the export market for hardwood logs going to China.

Phytosanitary certificates issued by USDA-APHIS can be issued effective Sept. 15; APHIS recommends that the 24-hour duration fumigation schedule be maintained for hardwood species.