Gerald McDowell Appointed to Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone Board of Directors

ATLANTA, March 14, 2017 – Gerald McDowell, Executive Director of the Aerotropolis Atlanta Community Improvement Districts (CIDs), was introduced today as a member of the Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone’s Board of Directors at their quarterly meeting. McDowell was selected to serve as representative of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce by its President and CEO, Chris Clark. Board Chairman Brian McGowan, President and CEO of the Atlanta BeltLine, made the announcement.

“Gerald’s expertise in leading global businesses and his strong connections to business and community leaders will quickly prove to be of strategic importance to Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone,” McGowan said. “The Georgia Chamber designated an individual with strong credentials and we are very glad to welcome him.”

“Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone is helping businesses in our state remain competitive. The foreign-trade zone program protects jobs in our country and promotes economic growth across our economy. The Georgia Chamber and GFTZ are highly regarded organizations and it is an honor to join this esteemed board,” McDowell said.

McDowell has led the Aerotropolis CIDs since 2015 and under his leadership it has secured more than $50 million in grants and project funding. Prior to his work with the Aerotropolis CIDs, he led The JILAS Company as its President and CEO, overseeing its expansion into emerging markets in Central and South America and the Caribbean. In addition to GFTZ, McDowell also serves the boards of directors for the Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance, Council for Quality Growth, New Life Community Center, and the Global Center for Teaching, Learning and Development.

The Georgia Chamber helped to establish the first foreign-trade zone in Georgia in 1976 and has held a seat on the Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone’s Board of Directors since its establishment. Reflecting on more than four decades of partnership, Clark noted that “there are more Georgians employed by businesses in the FTZ program than ever before and this is in no small part due to GFTZ’s leadership. It’s one of the top-rated FTZ in the United States. We’re proud to have Gerald represent us and look forward to supporting their efforts to strengthen our economy.”

About Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone

Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone (GFTZ) is a private non-profit corporation that serves as the federally appointed grantee with administrative responsibilities over Foreign-Trade Zone #26, the largest FTZ in Georgia. GFTZ is dedicated to fostering economic growth in Georgia and the U.S. through the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone program. For more information visit

Hartsfield-Jackson World’s Busiest Airport for 20th Straight Year

For the third straight year, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport served more than 100 million passengers. Trade group Airports International is expected to confirm Hartsfield-Jackson as the world’s busiest in 2017.

“Hartsfield-Jackson successfully combines efficiency and passenger volume in a way that ensures ATL retains its position as the aviation industry’s leader,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said. “That worldwide leadership role enables the airport to maintain its status as the economic engine of the Southeast.”


Groundbreaking Set for Georgia Port’s Mason Mega-Rail Project

The Georgia Port’s authority announced a $5.8 million budget increase to incorporate American-made parts for the port’s Mason Mega Rail project. The project will connect two rail yards to the Garden City Terminal. At its completion, the mega rail project will double on-dock rail capacity and open service to inland markets, including Chicago.


Georgia Ports Authority Posts Record TEUs in 2017

The Port of Savannah – the single largest container terminal in North America – posted a record annual volume of over 4 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2017, an 11 percent increase from the year before. Total trade also increased by 12 percent to a record 35 million tons.

“This is the first time we’ve handled more than 4 million TEUs in a 12-month period, which is an important milestone for Savannah,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch in a press release. “These numbers clearly show that Georgia has the fastest growing and most critical port in the Southeast.”

The Port of Savannah handled 8.5% of U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10% of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2017.



KPMG Trade & Customs Experts: FTZs Offer Stability in ‘Uncertain’ Environment

Members of the Trade & Customs practice of KPMG LLP argue in favor of FTZs, which “provide stability by offering importers the ability to maintain inventory or manufacturing inputs in a bonded area, prior to the formal entry of merchandise with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and payment of customs duties and fees.” The authors believe that turnkey FTZ implementations and managed services allow businesses to join the FTZ program with “fewer dedicated company resources. Companies with FTZs can benefit from reduced customs fees and duties, improved inventory control, more secure cargo security and quicker transit times, with continued normal daily operations – all while the compliance tasks are assigned to the FTZ ICRS systems and business partners.”


Site Selection Names Georgia FTZ a Top Foreign-Trade Zone with Annual Award

ATLANTA, October 30, 2017 – Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone (GFTZ) announced today that it has been awarded the “Top Free Zones Award” for 2017 and named one of the top foreign-trade zones in the U.S. and Canada by Site Selection, an economic development trade magazine.

“Business executives are recognizing the value of lower trade barriers, reduced operating costs, and shortened supply chains though the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone program – and we’re honored when companies operating in Georgia turn to GFTZ to open those possibilities,” said GFTZ President and CEO Julie Brown. “We take our responsibilities seriously and sincerely appreciate the trust that companies place in our team.”

The magazine’s rankings are based on a confidential survey of site consultants and executives involved in global supply-chain operations. The award was announced concurrently with Site Selection’s designation of Georgia as the top state for business for the fourth year in a row.

Survey respondents voted on the top foreign-trade zones based on proven track record of success with investors; ease-of-access to necessary information; assistance to current and prospective investors; knowledgeable staff; professionality of communications; ability to cater to customers who speak different languages; and the quality of their web presence.

About Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone

Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone (GFTZ) is a private non-profit corporation that serves as the federally appointed grantee with administrative responsibilities over Foreign-Trade Zone #26, serving the majority of Georgia. GFTZ is dedicated to fostering economic growth in Georgia and the U.S. through the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone program. For more information visit

About Site Selection

Site Selection magazine, published by Conway Data Inc., delivers expansion planning information to 48,000 executives of fast-growing firms. The senior publication in the development field, Site Selection is also available via Site Selection Online. The publication also publishes or co-publishes e-newsletters, including The Site Selection Dispatch, Life Sciences Report, Aerospace Report and Energy Report; Site Selection International; The FDI Report; Trust and the OnSITE Travel blog.

Yamaha supports SEAL group with Viking donation

Yamaha Motor Corp. USA donated an ATV, the Viking VI Special Edition, to a charity auction benefiting Navy SEAL family members. The Viking VI SE raised $17,000 at the event, and it is the fourth time Yamaha has donated to the SEAL-NSW Family Foundation, who run the auction.

“Yamaha is honored to continue its support of the SEAL-NSW Family Foundation and its important mission of assisting the families of those who defend our freedoms,” said Steve Nessl, Yamaha’s ATV/side-by-side group marketing manager.


Auto shipping capacity increased by half in Brunswick, on track to lead nation

The Georgia Ports Authority director Griff Lynch says the Colonels Island terminal at the Brunswick port increased its auto import capacity by 50 percent this past year. Companies can now move 800,000 cars per day.

“Since last year, we’ve been implementing an aggressive growth plan, enabling GPA [Georgia Ports Authority] and our auto processing partners to win new customers and capture greater market share,” Lynch said.


New distribution hubs coming to Savannah as part of ports boom

Because of a record breaking year for cargo at Georgia ports this past fiscal year, the Savannah region is expecting hundreds of new logistics jobs to accompany new private investments. Noble House, a furniture retailer, and home accessories seller Best Choice are each planning new East Coast distribution hubs near the Savannah port.

“As our state’s gateways to global commerce, the Ports of Georgia are part of the crown jewels of our state,” Governor Nathan Deal is expected to say in an upcoming address, according to prepared remarks provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


Pratt & Whitney adding 500 jobs with $386 million expansion of Columbus plant

Pratt & Whitney currently employs more than 1,200 associates at its Columbus facility. The newly created jobs will include positions in administration, supervisory and technical support, production, and maintenance.

“With today’s announcement of new investment of $386 million and 500 new employees, Pratt & Whitney builds on its role as one of our region’s largest and most important companies employing hundreds of our residents in well-paying jobs,” said City of Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson. “As importantly, we are committed to doing everything we can to keep them growing in our community for decades to come.”