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International Manufacturer Saves Millions With Foreign Trade Zone Designation


A Rockford area global forklift company has saved over $2 million annually by receiving a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) designation at their Marengo, Illinois facility.

There is no U.S. customs duty on assembled forklifts, but duties range from 0% to 9% percent on forklift components. In 2006, UniCarriers Americas, formerly Nissan Forklift, activated a manufacturing FTZ subzone at their Marengo facility. This eliminates duty on the components shipped to Marengo from their global suppliers. The components are then assembled into forklifts which are imported through the trade zone—again, with no duties applied—and distributed to their end customers in the United States and across the globe.

UniCarriers America's Manager of Logistics & Trade Compliance Traci Grever said, “The return on the FTZ investment was well worth the time and effort. It has yielded great savings to our company. These savings have helped UCA pursue other opportunities to expand our business.”

To assemble over 14,000 forklift trucks per year, UCA has more than 50 shipments per week of ocean containers and airfreight shipments. In addition to savings on customs duties, UniCarriers saves on custom fees by paying a weekly consolidated fee, rather than paying on daily individual shipments.

With more than 1,000 components per forklift truck, the more consistent supply chain and delivery process UniCarriers receives is a substantial benefit. “Because we are moving the components under customs’ supervision, rather than making a consumption import entry, there is less variability in delivery,” Grever said.

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