kc smartport blog

<< Return to Blog List

Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone Names Operational Partner, KC SmartPort

by Mary Rooney | Jan 31, 2023

Kansas City, Mo. - January 31, 2023 -  KC SmartPort, the industrial business attraction organization for the Kansas City region, announced it is now operating the Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone (GKCFTZ). The GKCFTZ is the regional grantee for the national Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) program and will remain an independent nonprofit entity. 

As the new operating team for the GKCFTZ, KC SmartPort, an affiliate of the Kansas City Area Development Council, will manage the organization’s grantee duties and responsibilities with Chris Gutierrez now leading both organizations as president.

“KC SmartPort is in a unique position to operate the GKCFTZ, working with the existing zone operators while utilizing its role as an industrial business attraction organization to help introduce the FTZ program to new companies considering the Kansas City region,” said Chris Gutierrez, president of GKCFTZ and KC SmartPort. “We see great opportunity for both organizations to collaborate on growing industrial investment in the region and maintain Kansas City‘s status as a top inland port and logistics hub.”

FTZs are secured, designated locations around the United States in or near a U.S. Customs Port of Entry where foreign and domestic merchandise is generally considered to be in international commerce and outside of U.S. Customs territory. As a result, activated businesses in an FTZ can reduce or eliminate duty on imports and take advantage of other benefits to encourage foreign commerce within the United States.

In 2021, the companies that operate in the GKCFTZ received more than $3.4 billion worth of foreign and domestic merchandise, exported $204 million in merchandise, employed nearly 3,000 in the region and had $3.9 billion in value-added activity. In the same year, the GKCFTZ ranked in the top 25 Foreign Trade Zones, recognized for the value of merchandise received, produced and exported.

Alfred J. Figuly, president and CEO of the GKCFTZ for more than 20 years, retired at the end of 2022. While president, Figuly successfully operated and grew the FTZ program in the Kansas City region, which generated more activity than most U.S. inland ports. 

“The GKCFTZ has had many years of successful operation under Al Figuly, who has been a great leader for the U.S. FTZ program and helped bolster international trade in the Kansas City region,” said Gino Serra, chair of the GKCFTZ board and partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. “We look forward to continued international trade growth in the region and see the Foreign Trade Zone program as a key component.”

Kansas City’s central location and existing multi-modal transportation structure supports the GKCFTZ, providing a strong advantage for international supply chain operations to attract foreign investment into the area. FTZ users enjoy cost-saving benefits in cost of goods stored, produced or assembled, as well as cost reductions in transportation, distribution and other supply chain components.

The Kansas City region is one of the nation’s largest hubs for warehousing, distribution and manufacturing operations, ranking No. 2 in the Midwest and No. 4 in the nation for containerized imports, having achieved an estimated volume of 238,000 TEUs in 2021. Kansas City also recently ranked as the No. 10 top U.S. city for foreign businesses by the Financial Times and Nikkei

The GKCFTZ is overseen by an independent, volunteer board of directors, comprised of leadership from top companies and civic organizations throughout the Kansas City region. The 2023 executive committee members include Gino Serra, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner; Reid Schulz, RS Electric; Ken Hoffman, Dysart Taylor Cotter McMonigle & Brumitt; and Connie Kamps, Hunt Midwest Real Estate Development.

About The Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone, Inc. 
GKCFTZ is a regional grantee of the national FTZ program. In 1974, GKCFTZ was the first nonprofit organization to be designated a grantee. GKCFTZ sponsors both Foreign-Trade Zone No. 15 in Kansas City, Missouri, and Zone No. 17 in Kansas City, Kansas. Zone 15 serves FTZ needs in 23 contiguous counties in the western half of Missouri, and Zone 17 presently serves nine counties in metropolitan Kansas City, Kansas. GKCFTZ is one of the largest zones in the country, with over 450 million square feet of approved foreign trade zone space that includes General Purpose and Subzone space in both Kansas and Missouri. | www.gkcftz.com 

About KC SmartPort
An affiliate of the Kansas City Area Development Council, KC SmartPort is the authority on industrial operations in the 18-county, two-state Kansas City region. The nonprofit economic development organization promotes and enhances the Kansas City region’s status as a leading North American inland port and logistics hub, attracting industrial company investment into the market. In the last five years, KC SmartPort has contributed to bring nearly 12,000 jobs, more than $575 million in payroll and $5.8 billion in capital investment to the KC region. | www.kcsmartport.com

Leave a comment