ccording to the recently released 70th Annual Report of the Foreign-Trade Zone Board to the U.S. Congress, Alliance Foreign-Trade Zone No. 196 in north Texas admitted US$5.357 billion in foreign products in fiscal year 2008, tops in the U.S. among general-purpose FTZs, and was joined in the top five by fellow Texas zones in Houston and El Paso. The state is home to 31 of the nation's 164 general-purpose FTZs, with half of the top 10 by foreign goods value located there.
According to AllianceTexas developer Hillwood, "in large part due to its role in handling imports, AllianceTexas has had an economic impact of $36.4 billion on the North Texas economy. In addition the development has attracted $6.8 billion in private investment, generated more than $730 million in property taxes and created 28,000 fulltime jobs."
The FTZ board in fiscal 2008 issued 47 formal orders, including approvals for one new general-purpose zone and 20 new subzones. Authority was also granted for the expansion of 10 existing general-purpose zones. Other actions included six expansions of the scope of manufacturing activity, as well as six approvals for new manufacturing activity in zones. "The number of facilities using subzone status during the year was 254," said the report. "The combined value of shipments into general-purpose zones and subzones totaled over $692 billion, compared with $502 billion the previous year. General-purpose sites received nearly $75 billion in merchandise. Total shipments received at subzone sites amounted to over $617 billion."
Over $40 billion worth of exports were shipped from facilities operating under FTZ procedures during fiscal 2008, and total FTZ employment came to approximately 330,000 persons at some 2,500 firms.
Exports from FTZs have grown steadily over the past decade, more than doubling in value since 2002. Vehicles led the way in value of foreign status goods admitted in FTZs, at more than $10.4 billion, followed by petroleum products and consumer electronics.
n January, HSBC Technology and Services opened Discovery Green, a new environmentally sustainable, global software development center in Burnaby, B.C. The 146,000-sq.-ft. (13,563-sq.-m.) building, leased from Morguard Investments by HSBC Bank Canada, will accommodate over 850 employees that develop software solutions for HSBC operations around the world.
"I am especially pleased to be able to announce that the building has achieved the LEED Platinum environmental standard for the core and shell," said Lindsay Gordon, president and CEO, HSBC Bank Canada. "These high-tech jobs in an environmentally sustainable building highlight the HSBC Group's commitment to growing in Canada and our commitment to corporate sustainability."
The facility design is an open plan to facilitate collaboration and innovation, and contains many amenities for staff such as a restaurant, staff bank branch, ball court, rooftop terrace, game room and fitness room.
The LEED-Platinum designation was awarded to Morguard Investments Limited, Bunting Coady Architects and Discovery Parks. The building, constructed in 2008, features 100-percent green electricity; rain water harvesting; Encelium lighting systems; variable refrigerant flow technology; glare and shadow control measures; and FSC certified wood.
he federal government in January awarded 30 grants totaling $8 billion in Recovery Act funds for high-speed rail development in selected corridors around the U.S. The top 10 recipients by dollars awarded are noted here.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced that more than 30 rail manufacturers and suppliers, domestic and foreign, have committed to establish or expand their U.S. bases of operations if they are chosen by states or groups of states to build America's high-speed rail lines. They include such names as GE Transportation, Alstom, Bombardier, Siemens and Hyundai.
ight billion dollars in federal money is headed to various high-speed rail corridor projects. But it's still Interstates that literally carry the burden for the nation's freight and people movement needs.
The map above, courtesy of American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), depicts average Interstate speeds across the nation. ATRI also tracks average Interstate speeds in 14 major metros, with Phoenix the fastest and L.A. the slowest in summer 2009.
Jeffrey Short, a senior research associate at ATRI, says his organization's work using mile-marker data and other data sets has not been applied that frequently to site selection work, though his team did help a large company with exactly that in early 2009.
A new service from ATRI and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Freight Management and Operations called FPMWeb uses speed data gathered from 2,800 three-mile segments of Interstate. Average speeds are calculated using confidential onboard data from several hundred thousand trucks. Short says corporate site seekers might use it for time-of-day analysis to see when congestion is at its worst.
"You might link with three specific other facilities across the country, and analyze those specific routes you know will be used the most," he says. "If the company has a fleet, they may be in such a just-in-time mode that they really need reliability across the corridors that take goods back and forth from the site. Reliability is essentially the variability of speed across a corridor across time. You can go into the FPMWeb tool and look hour by hour at what the average speed is at those times."