News Article | 2/17/2010

Billions of foreign goods come through Alliance trade zone


The Alliance Global Logistics Hub for the third consecutive year was named the nation’s top foreign trade zone by the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone Board.


About $5.4 billion worth of foreign-made products passed through the local, general-purpose zone last year, according to the board’s annual report to Congress. That surpasses the $4 billion admitted through the second-place Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.


“You have an airport and two rail lines and a highway [Interstate 35W], which is huge in distribution circles,” said David Pelletier, a spokesman with Hillwood, the developer behind the 17,000-acre AllianceTexas development.


The foreign trade zone helps lure companies to AllianceTexas, Pelletier said. The designation allows companies to import products before U.S. customs inspections are made and pay no duty until the products leave the foreign-trade zone.


“It’s just one more cost-savings measure that helps you attract companies into the development,” Pelletier said.


Hillwood officials expect the value of products passing through the zone to grow as ATC Logistics & Electronics continues to operate after setting up shop in 2009. The company provides repair and assembly services for GPS and cell phone manufacturers and providers.


Other companies with operations at the foreign trade zone include Motorola, Lego and Hyundai.


Since opening Fort Worth Alliance Airport — considered the centerpiece of AllianceTexas — Hillwood has watched companies flock to the development. Proximity to the world’s first industrial airport, which opened in 1989, not to mention major freeways and rail lines, has made AllianceTexas a major player not only for attracting corporate tenants, but for enriching the local economy.


No fewer than 15 of the Northwest school district’s top 20 taxpayers are within AllianceTexas. For the current budget year, Citicorp Technology stood as the top AllianceTexas taxpayer, providing the school district $157,571,000 in taxable assessed valuation. But the district’s top taxpayer overall is Devon Energy Production Co. , which provided $1,172,741,570 during the same period. Devon has no operations at AllianceTexas.


Other AllianceTexas companies on the list span several industries, with Cardinal Health 411 representing health care; Bell Helicopter Textron, Peregrine Point and AT&T Mobility representing commercial and industrial; and Cabela’s Retail TX representing retail.


Of the $3,820,463 in commercial property listed on the school district’s 2009-2010 taxable property breakdown, the lion’s share of the property value is within AllianceTexas.


“Out of the $3.8 billion, quite a bit would be Alliance,” said Jon Graswich, the district’s chief financial officer.