Leaders hopeful Foreign Trade Zone will be economic boost

The Paducah McCracken County Riverport Authority has worked for years toward making the Local 6 area a foreign trade zone. Right now, some goods through the local ports would accrue an additional tax or tariff.  If the Local 6 area becomes a Foreign Trade Zone, this would make the Riverport more attractive by removing this fee.

Riverport and local leaders say if approved on the federal level, the foreign trade zone application will serve as a big economic boost.

Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority Executive Director Ken Canter says its an exciting venture. Canter says the agreement will build Paducah as a city and open the Purchase area to more global commerce, “We knew a foreign trade zone would be a tremendous benefit.”

Canter says it will ultimately translate to hundreds of jobs and a way for economic development leaders across the Purchase Area to sell the land as an inland port, “As world trade people look where they can get their cargo moved efficiently I think Paducah will stand out of the crowd.”

The Foreign Trade Zone agreement was signed and endorsed by eight county judge executives including Livingston County. New McCracken County Judge Executive, Bob Leeper endorses the hopeful application as well saying it would be a good thing if the designation was achieved, “It’s going to be critical to developing our riverfront from an economic development standpoint and working with all the business and industries that can benefit from it.”

Both Canter and Leeper say this will make Paducah-McCracken County competitive in the marketplace, “It offers tremendous opportunities to move business and gain employees for some time.”

The application will be filed Wednesday at the latest, and will wait in line on a docket to be addressed on the federal level. Currently, Evansville, Indiana, is the nearest foreign trade zone. But because of such strong support locally and from Evansville, all involved are confident the zone will be approved.

However, if enacted the trade zone will not take effect immediately. It will take at least 6 to 8 months but could also take as long as a year.

The riverport’s $4.5 million investment in the new flat-top crane will also help with the foreign trade zone application.

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