ITC | US-Canada | Border Protest

4PL and FTZ’s: Solutions For Businesses Affected By Border Protests

Young Company FTZ News

At 8:30 am on Valentine’s Day, the Ambassador Bridge was reopened after being shut down for almost a week due to ongoing protests against cross border covid restrictions. Connecting commercial lines between the US and Canada, the Ambassador Bridge is the busiest commerce crossing in North America. Built over 9 decades ago, this bridge continues to provide importers and exporters with an easy US-to-Canada solution. Today, the Ambassador Bridge alone supports nearly 25% of all commercial business between the two North American trading juggernauts.

On any normal day, truck after truck comes pouring over the bridge and into the two countries, ensuring on time delivery of goods and a continuation of the supply chain as it keeps moving forward. Recently however, headlines have been spotlighting protests which have slowed down traffic on the bridge and are causing already existing frustrating supply chain problems to quickly worsen. On Friday the 11th the Windsor Police Service sent an alert notifying the public of their response to the trucker border protests: “The Windsor Police and its policing partners have commenced enforcement at and near the Ambassador Bridge. We urge all demonstrators to act lawfully and peacefully. Commuters are still being asked to avoid the areas affected by the demonstrations at this time.”

This tweet came after days of the bridge being slowed and even stopped from any activity. Truckers who are being required to comply with covid mandates and health regulations in Canada are speaking out against the requirements, calling them an overreach. The outcry of these freight truckers, regardless of opinion, has been heard. A heavy police presence moved into the area on Saturday the 12th, which included tactically trained units, sniper cover, and armored vehicles intent on removing the disturbance and resuming operations of the bridge. Trucks trying to run their normal routes have been forced to detour as a result of the protests and have to choose between the Bluewater Bridge or Peace Bridge. Unfortunately, neither is a viable option for many of these commercial freighters because these detours waste precious time and don’t have the same vehicle clearance that the Ambassador Bridge does.

Ed, an Ohio based driver, articulated his frustrations with the detours, “It is adding to my day, but we get paid by the run, not by the hour. So if it takes five hours or 10 hours, we still get the same amount.”

Sometimes, we want to choose sides with issues like this, but taking ourselves out of it and looking at this problem from a thirty thousand foot level, what we see here is another supply chain issue.

Perceived political overreach combined with extended civilian unrest often spark protests and these commercial truckers halting the commercial line on the bridge was the latest showing of such a protest. It will continue to happen in the future and if importers, exporters and businesses globally are not prepared, they risk becoming victims to the ramifications of these sporadic protests and forced shutdowns.

A strategy that has helped many importers over the decades has been to use a Free Trade Zone, or FTZ, to move goods and products into the US or Canada with significant tariff, fees and cost benefits. To put it simply, a Free Trade Zone is space that is physically located inside the US, but legally outside the US, where businesses can import and manufacture goods with minimized, deferred or eliminated tariffs, taxes and CBP duties. There’s a lot of nuance involved with the Custom Border Patrol, FTZ Warehouses, Importing, Exporting and 4th Party Logistics (4PL) for global supply chains, but the focus here is how a Free Trade Zone can help a business proactively plan for supply chain interruptions.

When a business uses a Foreign Trade Zone or FTZ warehouse, they take their products and goods -anything from raw materials like, resin or molding plastic, to consumables like wine or tires- and move them into a space that is typically located around ports of entry, giving them the freedom to:

  • Defer, reduce, or eliminate certain duties.
  • Avoid inverted tariffs. Claim exempt on re-exports.
  • Eliminate duties on waste, scrap, and yield loss.
  • Save on weekly entry fees through certain programs.
  • Improve compliance, inventory tracking, and quality control.
  • Indefinitely store goods.
  • Do much more!

If any of the companies moving inventory across the Ambassador Bridge during these slowdowns and demonstrations had used an FTZ to store their goods inside the United States instead of relying on tenuous inter-country supply chain links, they would have been able to continue operations, pivoting to move goods from an FTZ location and into the hands of their customers. Many companies even use FTZ warehouses to operate their business and manufacture products for sale and delivery.

A strategic 4th Party Logistics (4PL) operator has the proper channels and knows where there is space available for your company to strategically move goods into your markets, while proactively planning for any minor hiccups or indefinite derailments.

ITC Diligence International Inc. is the 4PL partner that every importer and exporter should contact when moving goods across US borders. The strategic planning and expert advice ITC Diligence International Inc. gives to their clients has been showcased for over 30 years.

Deep customer relationships, understanding and trust with the right government agencies, and critical inventory management skills come together to give businesses and importers around the world a solution and an option when supply chain problems start to impact their bottom line.

Get proactive and anticipate these supply chain problems with FTZ space that meets the needs of your business. Contact the experts at ITC Diligence International Inc. today to start planning.