Pilot El Paso is now operating as a Foreign Trade Zone, a factor that will appeal to many Pilot clients in the automotive, healthcare, electronics and aerospace industries. An FTZ is an area authorized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection that allows U.S.-based companies to defer, reduce or even eliminate customs duties on its products admitted to the zone. “We envision customers that import raw materials from the Far East and Europe to their manufacturing plants in Mexico, will use the station’s FTZ capabilities to hold product here until they are ready to send it south,” says Hector Martinez, Pilot El Paso’s in-house customs broker. “That way they have their inventory nearby as opposed to overseas, and thus avoid paying U.S. duties.” When ready, the ELP team will prepare the goods for export and the team will assist with the necessary document preparation.
Last summer, ELP doubled its warehouse space to 40,000 square feet in preparation for the FTZ activation. In order to do so, the facility has established a new inventory and security system. “Since the merchandise is considered an in-bond shipment and not technically entered into the U.S., there are several special accommodations we’ve established at the station in order to meet FTZ requirements,” says Hector. “This value-added service will also allow Pilot to remain competitive as there are a dozen or more FTZs in the city currently.” In addition, the station is situated close to the Zaragoza Bridge, which allows for shorter transit times to the Mexican border, a factor that is appealing to many customers.