Local leaders encouraged by and working for river port Foreign Trade Zone status

A new status for a river port could mean new jobs after four years in the works. The Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority was approved as a foreign trade zone in November. Now, they’re working to activate that status.

Many goods that come through a port accrue a tax or a tariff, but a foreign trade zone removes some of those fees. Local leaders say the new status is promising.

Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority Director Bill Miller says applying for the foreign trade zone status was hard work. He says many collaborated on the effort before him starting in 2011. But now, Miller says they’re beginning to work to activate the status and increase river traffic. He says the work is mostly administrative, but businesses are already looking at Paducah.

"The site committees, when they do go look for a particular place, they wish to invest in an area, Paducah will pop up,” Miller says.

It’s not just the waterway system that’s appealing. Paducah’s also located on the interstate system, which is appealing to big companies when it puts them  less than a day’s drive away from other big cities.

Paducah Chamber of Commerce President Sandra Wilson says she supports anything that builds jobs.

“Everything we can do to strengthen our great advantage of being on the river is important.” Wilson says.

But, Wilson says, river business won’t be the only industry that profits. She says big businesses bring a ripple effect down to smaller businesses.

Miller says they hope to activate their foreign trade zone status by the summer of next year. 

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