The Port of Milwaukee has extended its foreign trade zone to a wider area of southeastern Wisconsin through an alternative site framework.
The Port’s Zone 41 approval now includes businesses in Dodge, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, Washington, Ozaukee, Jefferson, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Rock, Walworth, Racine and Kenosha counties.
Foreign trade zones are meant to increase U.S. companies’ competitiveness with foreign alternatives by providing cost savings in the importing of materials and exporting of products. This includes delayed or reduced duty payments on foreign merchandise.
“Prominent companies in our region are finding southeastern Wisconsin a more attractive place to do
business because of their participation in the Foreign-Trade Zone,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.
“With this decision from the Foreign-Trade Zone Board, the Port of Milwaukee is ready to connect even
more companies with the benefits of participating in the Foreign-Trade Zone.”
The agreement is for companies within a 60-mile radius or 90-minute drive from the port. There are now seven companies taking part in Milwaukee’s foreign trade zone.
The Port decided to extend the trade zone after chemical manufacturer Sigma-Aldrich asked to ship out of the port, said Betty Nowak, marketing manager for the Port of Milwaukee.
Sigma has three Milwaukee facilities, but one is in Sheboygan and one is in Ozaukee County, both of which were previously outside the zone. Expanding the zone has created 40 new jobs at Sigma Aldrich, which recently committed to making Milwaukee a distribution hub.
“It’s simply a tax incentive for companies that can bring back jobs, create jobs and put people back to work and by saving the co money, they’re able to hire more people,” Nowak said.