Peoria’s international port designation offers a range of benefits to area residents and companies.
Some local residents may not realize Peoria’s direct link to globalization, which dates back more than a century to a time when it was a world-renowned distilling center with many breweries and distilleries. We all know Peoria lies on the Illinois River, making it a “port town,” but less known is its legal recognition by the U.S. government as an international port of entry and exit. Having a legal “Port of Peoria” is a tremendous resource to area businesses and residents—and the reason our airport can be called the Peoria International Airport. Without a port, other airports cannot use the same “international” designation.
Benefits of the Port Designation
This designation as a customs port allows international trade to be cleared into or out of Peoria directly through the Port of Peoria. These transactions are managed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.
How does having a port support globalization? It means companies have a local contact for the range of activities handled by the CBP. For inbound freight from another country, goods can be cleared for import in Peoria even if they transit another port, such as ocean freight from China that passes through Long Beach. The benefit of using the Port of Peoria is the interaction with the port director, who is familiar with all area companies that regularly trade internationally.
Dan Hartzler, Peoria’s port director, has an office at the airport and manages all imports and exports, offering a local point of contact for guidance and assistance with any issues. There are other benefits as well. Companies using a Carnet—a document used to temporarily export and import goods, such as for a trade show—can avoid the long lines at an airport and go directly to the Peoria port to register. The port even offers recreational benefits; for instance, when hunters headed to Canada are required to register their guns with CBP, the local port makes it easy to complete the required paperwork.
A CBP Port of Entry is not just beneficial for freight, but also for people. If a private plane arrives from an international destination, Port Director Hartzler can act as the immigration officer to clear the passengers into the U.S. When the Peoria airport begins to offer international destinations, this function will be extended to passenger planes as well. Without the Port of Peoria, these immigration activities would not be available.
The Peoria Foreign Trade Zone
The Port of Peoria is linked to another key asset that supports globalization: the Peoria Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) #114. Our local FTZ #114 is managed by the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois and is under the supervision of CBP. Having the Port of Peoria makes the FTZ possible, bringing even more benefits to area companies.
When imported freight enters the FTZ, it is legally outside the CBP territory for import duty purposes. That means additional manufacturing could be done, which may result in overall reduction of duties when the final products leave the FTZ. An alternative use of FTZ is to import products into the FTZ, warehouse them, and later, export some or all of the products to other countries. Because the products were within the FTZ but remained outside CBP territory, no duty payment is required unless some of the goods are used within the U.S.—which means reduced paperwork and duties. A number of area companies utilize the benefits of the FTZ, and recent changes to the regulations will likely result in more companies, as there is greater flexibility in the circumstances under which these benefits can be accessed.
Thanks to its long history in the distillery business, Peoria today enjoys a significant asset that supports its role as a leading region for international trade. In fact, a recent report from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration lists the metropolitan area of Peoria as the 25th-largest area in the nation for exports. A globalized city, indeed. iBi
James F. Foley, CGBP is director of the Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at Bradley University. For more information on the Port of Peoria, contact Dan Hartzler at (309) 634-0247 or [email protected]. For more information on Peoria FTZ #114, contact Sally Hanley at (309) 495-5953 or [email protected].