Foreign-trade zones of the United States
In the United States, a foreign-trade zone is a geographical area, in a United States Port of Entry, where commercial merchandise, both domestic and foreign receives the same Customs treatment it would if it were outside the commerce of the United States. Another definition of an FTZ states that it is an isolated and policed area operated as a public utility, furnished with facilities for loading, handling, manipulating and exhibiting goods and for reshipping them by land, water or air. Merchandise of every description may be held in the zone without being subject to tariffs and other ad valorem taxes; this tariff and tax relief is designed to lower the costs of U. S.-based operations engaged in international trade and thereby create and retain the employment and capital investment opportunities that result from those operations. These special geographic areas – foreign-trade zones – are established "in or adjacent to" U. S. Ports of Entry and are under the supervision of the U. S. Customs and Border Protection under the United States Homeland Security Council.
Since 1986, U. S. Customs' oversight of FTZ operations has been conducted on an audit-inspection basis known as Compliance Reviews, whereby compliance is assured through audits and spot checks under a surety bond, rather than through on-site supervision by Customs personnel. There are over nearly 400 subzones in the United States; the U. S. foreign-trade zones program was created by the Foreign-Trade Zones Act of 1934. The Foreign-Trade Zones Act was one of two key pieces of legislation passed in 1934 in an attempt to mitigate some of the destructive effects of the Smoot-Hawley Tariffs, imposed in 1930; the Foreign-Trade Zones Act was created to "expedite and encourage foreign commerce" in the United States. Through World War II, manufacturing activity was allowed only on a limited basis. In 1950, the original act was amended to open up FTZs to manufacturing, but it had little impact until 1980. In that year, Congress again amended the act so that products manufactured in the zones would not be assessed on U.
S. value-added. This ensured that the only tariffs a producer inside the zone selling to U. S. customers would pay, would be on the raw materials imported into the zone. This "integrated" model, which replaced the previous "island" model, spurred growth in the U. S. foreign-trade zones program. U. S. FTZs pose multiple benefits, other than duty deferred and inverted tariff, which companies can use to benefit their bottom line. However, a majority of companies are not utilizing FTZs to their full potential because sometimes the unknown creates uncertainty; some of the benefits of operating a FTZ include: Improved inventory management Automated recordkeeping and document storage Increased visibility of the supply chain Improved cash flow Improved company compliance Lessened U. S. regulatory agency requirements for re-export Inverted tariff benefits exist when the duty rate for the overall finished good is lower than the duty rate of the component parts. Therefore, by manufacturing finished goods within an FTZ, US importers can take advantage of the inverted tariff duty rate, all while keeping manufacturing operations within the US.
Inverted tariff works when an importer with manufacturing authority within an FTZ is allowed to admit their components into the zone duty-free, manufacture the finished good, pay CBP duties on the foreign content in the finished good at the lower duty rate of the finished goods at the time of entry. The importer avoids paying the higher duty rate on the component parts and defers the lower duty payment on the value of the foreign content until the time of consumption in the commerce of the US. Inverted tariff is seen predominantly in the manufacturing industry, benefiting automotive, pharmaceutical, electronics, textile companies and many more. Any company in any industry can apply to be a part of an FTZ. Companies importing to the U. S. on a regular basis and in high volume are the main participants. It is a way to reduce importing costs and save money by participating in special Customs procedures and simplifies processes to run more efficient inventory control systems; the process to register into one used to be lengthy — 9 to 12 months, depending on the industry and if a FTZ is being created or if you are participating in one that exists.
This changed in 2011. Alternative Site Framework provides a streamlined process for foreign-trade zone grantees to expand operations within their given service area. Grantees that have transitioned over to ASF are granted 2,000 "virtual" acres to designate sites within their service area, sometimes as as thirty days; as opposed to the Traditional Site Framework, this ASF option doesn't require a grantee to go through a traditional boundary modification for expansion purposes. Companies now have the option to select between establishing their business in a Usage Driven Site or a Magnet Site. Usage-driven sites are sites within a grantee's service area, that must go through a designation and activation process with the grantee and the Foreign-Trade Zone Board prior to initiating operations. Under ASF, usage-driven sites replace the role that subzones once held – allowing companies to operate under FTZ status while being located outside of what used to be called "general purpose zones" or now known as magnet sites under ASF.
Magnet sites are industrial parks or multi-tenant sites within a grantee's service area, which have been designated by the Foreign-Trade Zone Board. Once a company that's established in said industrial park wants to operate as an FTZ, it must only go through the designation process with the
White Oak Bayou
White Oak Bayou is a slow-moving river in Houston, Texas. A major tributary of the city's principal waterway, Buffalo Bayou, White Oak originates near the intersection of Texas State Highway 6 and U. S. Highway meanders southeast for 25 miles until it joins Buffalo Bayou in Downtown; the river serves as a greenway which connects Downtown to the Houston Heights, Oak Forest, Garden Oaks, Inwood Forest. A large majority of White Oak Bayou's route travels through developed areas; the river's 111-square-mile watershed contains a population of over 430,000. White Oak Bayou drains areas throughout the northwest portions of Harris County as well as the City of Jersey Village and portions of the City of Houston, its watershed covers 111 square miles and includes three primary streams: White Oak Bayou, Little White Oak Bayou and Cole Creek. In addition, Vogel Creek and Brickhouse Gully are among the major tributaries in the watershed. In all, there are about 151 miles of open streams in the White Oak Bayou watershed, including the primary and tributary channels.
Wildlife habitat exists on much of the undeveloped tracts scattered throughout the watershed and has been preserved and/or created in several of the large regional stormwater detention basins constructed by the Harris County Flood Control. However, only a little undisturbed wildlife habitat exists along the urban channels of White Oak Bayou and its tributaries; the original Port of Houston was located at the confluence of White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou in what is now downtown Houston by the University of Houston–Downtown. This area is the official birthplace of Houston, Texas; the landing is now designated as a historical city park. Near a bend in White Oak Bayou, where Houston's First and Sixth wards meet, lies Olivewood Cemetery, the historic 6-acre resting place for many freed slaves and some of Houston’s earliest black residents. Established in 1877, it is the oldest graveyard for African-Americans in the Houston area. In early June 2001, the Bayou caused at least three of 17 Houston-area deaths attributed to Tropical Storm Allison, when it raged out of its banks, as the maximum rainfall from Allison that fell on June 8 and 9 was shifted over the White Oak Bayou watershed.
Its tributary, Little White Oak Bayou, accounted for another two deaths. The West White Oak Bayou Trail runs along the banks of the bayou, parallel to T. C. Jester Boulevard, from 11th Street to Antoine St, providing bicyclists and pedestrians a 7.4-mile long concrete and asphalt trail (the portion just South of Little York to Antoine has been repaved and extended, White Oak Bayou Village trail head sits on this portion of the trail. Passing through several parks, the trail includes protective railings in some areas. In 2006, the Houston Press named the West White Oak Bayou Trail the best bike path in the City of Houston. Connections to and from the West White Oak Bayou Trail include the Central Business District Access On-street Bikeway, at 11th Street and at Ella Boulevard on the south. Just north of downtown Houston, around White Oak Park, the banks of White Oak Bayou have been cleaned and a swampy area restored where birdwatching can be enjoyed. Yellow-crowned night heron and green heron nest there, a number of eastern woodland birds reside in and around the park.
In addition, the White Oak Bayou Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of wildlife habitats along the bayou, has been established as part of the Citizens' Environmental Coalition. Along the bayou, between 18th and 11th Streets, is a grove of trees that have been planted by Trees For Houston; the "Tribute Grove" offers individuals the opportunity to commemorate special people or events by planting a tree on White Oak's banks. Since 1997, 1,494 trees have been planted in area Tribute Groves by Trees For Houston. List of rivers of Texas White Oak Bayou Watershed at Harris County Flood Control District Allen's Landing, Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online Houston Bikeway Program
Allen's Landing is the recognized birthplace of the city of Houston, United States, the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest in the United States. Located in Downtown Houston between the Main Street and Fannin Street viaducts, the landing encompasses the southern bank of Buffalo Bayou, the city's principal river, at its confluence with White Oak Bayou, a major tributary. Allen's Landing is located south of the University of Houston–Downtown Commerce Street Building. In August 1836, just months after the Republic of Texas won its independence from Mexico, two New York real estate developers, John Kirby Allen and Augustus Chapman Allen, purchased 6,642 acres of coastal prairie and settled the town of Houston on the banks of Buffalo Bayou; the present-day landing area was advertised as the head of navigation of the bayou and served as the city's first wharf. Allen's Landing is at the confluence of White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou and serves as a natural turning basin. A dock was opened on the site, the steamer Laura was the first ship to anchor at the landing on January 26, 1837.
The landing was named a port in 1841—the original Port of Houston. In 1910, the United States government approved funding for the dredging of a ship channel from the Gulf of Mexico to the present turning basin four miles to the east of Allen's Landing. In the late 1960s, Allen's Landing was home to the city's premiere psychedelic nightclub, Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine, where bands with names like Bubble Puppy, Neurotic Sheep and American Blues performed mind-expanding music accented with strobe lights and pastel projections; the historic Sunset Coffee Building on Commerce at Main Street, which housed the nightclub on its third floor, is still standing. Love Street's last show was on July 7, 1980. Once the focal point of downtown Houston, a small historical park was dedicated at the site in 1967; the Southern Pacific Railroad donated 4,000 square feet of land to the park project, to be developed and maintained by the Houston Chamber of Commerce, the City of Houston, the Harris County Navigation District.
In addition, a marker was placed at the park to indicate where, in 1837, townspeople erected a liberty pole to commemorate Sam Houston's victory over Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto the previous year. For a brief period in the 1990s, Allen's Landing was once again the docking site for the Laura, a sightseeing boat, a namesake of the 19th century vessel; the name Allen’s Landing is a 20th-century creation not found in any historical document. According to a 2008 Houston Chronicle article, the name was the invention of the Houston Chamber of Commerce. Charlie Lansden, longtime director of the chamber's Community Betterment Division, made this claim to Janet Wagner, a local historian; the name appears in a mural of Houston commissioned by the Houston Club in 1955 and painted by artist David Adickes. After years of neglect and deterioration, Allen’s Landing, as part of Houston's Waterfront District, has undergone major revitalization and rejuvenation, much like the rest of historic downtown Houston.
The first phase of the Allen's Landing revitalization project was completed in 2001. Special features of the park, located at 1001 Commerce Street, now include: a concrete-paved wharf, designed to replicate the original port; the campus of the University of Houston–Downtown straddles Allen's Landing. The university's One Main Building, housed in the former Merchants and Manufacturers Building, is just across the bayou at One Main Street, UHD's 95,000-square-foot Commerce Street Building, completed in May 2005, sits adjacent to the park at Main Street and Commerce. Since 2001, in a celebration of Houston's Asian American community, the Texas Dragon Boat Association has held an annual spring festival at Allen's Landing, where teams of paddlers race dragon boats throughout the day and enjoy colorful entertainment, as well as some Asian cultural and cuisine. In addition, the landing is a popular ingress/egress spot for canoe and kayak enthusiasts traveling up and down Buffalo Bayou. In 2006, Houston Endowment, Inc. a philanthropic foundation dedicated to improving life for the people of the greater Houston area, approved a $600,000 grant to be used by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership toward restoring and converting the 1930s Sunset Coffee Building into usable space and further improving Allen's Landing Park.
Buffalo Bayou Partnership Historic Houston, a chronology of Houston from 1836 to the present "Allen's Landing." in Houston: Past and Present in Contrast. Houston Chronicle
The Houston Chronicle is the largest daily newspaper in Houston, United States. As of April 2016, it is the third-largest newspaper by Sunday circulation in the United States, behind only the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. With its 1995 buy-out of long-time rival the Houston Post, the Chronicle became Houston's newspaper of record; the Houston Chronicle is the largest daily paper owned and operated by the Hearst Corporation, a held multinational corporate media conglomerate with $10 billion in revenues. The paper employs nearly 2,000 people, including 300 journalists and photographers; the Chronicle has bureaus in Washington, D. C. and Austin. It reports; the publication serves as the "newspaper of record" of the Houston area. Headquartered in the Houston Chronicle Building at 801 Texas Avenue, Downtown Houston, the Houston Chronicle is now located at 4747 Southwest Freeway, it has two websites: houstonchronicle.com. Chron.com is free and has breaking news, traffic, pop culture, events listings, city guides.
Houstonchronicle.com, launched in 2012 and accessible after subscription purchase, contains analysis, reporting and everything found in the daily newspaper. From its inception, the practices and policies of the Houston Chronicle were shaped by strong-willed personalities who were the publishers; the history of the newspaper can be best understood. The Houston Chronicle was founded in 1901 by a former reporter for the now-defunct Houston Post, Marcellus E. Foster. Foster, covering the Spindletop oil boom for the Post, invested in Spindletop and took $30 of the return on that investment — at the time equivalent to a week's wages — and used it to fund the Chronicle; the Chronicle's first edition was published on October 14, 1901 and sold for two cents per copy, at a time when most papers sold for five cents each. At the end of its first month in operation, the Chronicle had a circulation of 4,378 — one tenth of the population of Houston at the time. Within the first year of operation, the paper consolidated the Daily Herald.
In 1908, Foster asked Jesse H. Jones, a local businessman and prominent builder, to construct a new office and plant for the paper, "and offered half-interest in the newspaper as a down payment, with twenty years to pay the remainder. Jones agreed, the resulting Chronicle Building was one of the finest in the South."Under Foster, the paper's circulation grew from about 7,000 in 1901 to 75,000 on weekdays and 85,000 on Sundays by 1926. Foster continued to write columns under the pen name Mefo, drew much attention in the 1920s for his opposition to the Ku Klux Klan, he sold the rest of his interest to Jesse H. Jones on June 1926 and promptly retired. In 1911, City Editor George Kepple started Goodfellows. On a Christmas Eve in 1911, Kepple passed a hat among the Chronicle's reporters to collect money to buy toys for a shoe-shine boy. Goodfellows continues today through donations made by its readers, it has grown into a citywide program that provides needy children between the ages of two and ten with toys during the winter holidays.
In 2003, Goodfellows distributed 250,000 toys to more than 100,000 needy children in the Greater Houston area. In 1926, Jesse H. Jones became the sole owner of the paper, he had approached Foster about selling, Foster had answered, "What will you give me?". Jones described the buyout of Foster as follows: Wanting to be liberal with Foster if I bought him out, since he had created the paper and owned most of the stock, had made a success of it, I thought for a while before answering and asked him how much he owed, he replied,'On real estate and everything about 200,000 dollars.' I said to him that I would give him 300,000 dollars in cash, having in mind that this would pay his debts and give him 100,000 spending money. In addition, I would give him a note for 500,000 secured by a mortgage on the Chronicle Building, the note to be payable at the rate of 35,000 a year for thirty-five years, which I figured was about his expectancy. I would pay him 20,000 dollars a year as editor of the paper and 6,000 dollars a year to continue writing the daily front-page column,'MEFO,' on the condition that either of us could cancel the editorship and/or the MEFO-column contracts on six months notice, that, if I canceled both the column and the editorship, I would give him an additional 6,000 dollars a year for life.
I considered the offer more than the Chronicle was worth at the time. No sooner had I finished stating my proposition than he said,'I will take it,' and the transaction was completed accordingly. In 1937, Jesse H. Jones transferred ownership of the paper to the newly established Houston Endowment Inc. Jones retained the title of publisher until his death in 1956. According to The Handbook of Texas Online, the Chronicle represented conservative political views during the 1950s: "...the Chronicle represented the conservative political interests of the Houston business establishment. As such, it eschewed controversial political topics, such as integration or the impacts of rapid economic growth on life in the city, it did not perform investigative journalism. This resulted in a stodgy newspaper. By 1959, circulation of the rival Houston Post had pulled ahead of the Chronicle."Jones, a lifelong Democrat who organized the Democratic National Convention to be in Houston in 1928, who spent long years in public service first under the Wilson administration, helping to found the Red Cross
Fred Hartman Bridge
The Fred Hartman Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge in the U. S. state of Texas spanning the Houston Ship Channel. The bridge carries 2.6 miles of State Highway 146, between the cities of La Porte. The bridge is expected to carry SH 99 when it is completed around Houston; the bridge, named for Fred Hartman, the editor and publisher of the Baytown Sun from 1950 to 1974, is the longest cable-stayed bridge in Texas, one of only four such bridges in the state, the others being Veterans Memorial Bridge in Orange County, Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas and Bluff Dale Suspension Bridge in Erath County. It is the 77th largest bridge in the world; the construction cost of the bridge was $91.25 million. The bridge replaced the Baytown Tunnel; the tunnel had to be removed when the Houston Ship Channel was deepened to 45 feet, with a minimum 530 feet bottom width, to accommodate larger ships. The last section of the Baytown Tunnel was removed from the Houston Ship Channel on September 14, 1999, with removal of the tunnel being the responsibility of the Texas Department of Transportation.
In October 1985 the Texas Highway department announced the project and estimated it would take two years to complete. Construction began in 1987 and was contracted by Williams Brothers and Traylor Brothers construction companies. In 1993, The firm selected to produce a Mexican company, went bankrupt; the contract was awarded to a South African company which caused complaints because of the country's apartheid policies. After the completion date was pushed back several times, a letter was sent to the Texas Department of Transportation's executive director, William Burnett from the city of Baytown via the Baytown Sun in early 1995 which helped spur interest in finishing the project. On September 27, 1995 the Fred Hartman Bridge had its grand opening ceremony, hosted by Baytown Chamber of Commerce and La Porte Chamber of Commerce. Notable guests include Miss Texas 1995, William Burnett and the Hartman family. Fred Hartman did not live to see his dream come to fruition; the possibility of placing tolls on the bridge became an issue in a runoff election for the Texas House of Representatives in 2016 between the Republican winner, attorney Briscoe Cain of Deer Park, the defeated seven-term Representative Wayne Smith of Baytown.
Cain claimed that an online petition opposing tolling of the structure was a "preventative measure" because, "Smith's work history and legislative record on transportation gives Texans plenty to be concerned about." Bob Leiper, a former city manager in Baytown, leaped to Smith's defense in a "Letter to the Editor" of the Baytown Sun: I was astounded by Briscoe Cain's claim that Rep. Wayne Smith is somehow trying to make the Hartman Bridge a toll bridge; as an attorney you would think he would seek the truth before making such a wild claim and blaming it on one of the best friends and advocate Baytown had in Austin. Houston portal Media related to Fred Hartman Bridge at Wikimedia Commons
Double-stack rail transport
Double-stack rail transport is a form of intermodal freight transport where railroad cars carry two layers of intermodal containers. Introduced in North America in 1984, double stack has become common there, being used for nearly seventy percent of United States intermodal shipments. Using double stack technology, a freight train of a given length can carry twice as many containers reducing transport costs per container. On most North American railroads, special well cars are used for double-stack shipment to reduce the needed vertical clearance and to lower the center of gravity of a loaded car. In addition, the well car design reduces damage in transit and provides greater cargo security by cradling the lower containers so their doors cannot be opened. A succession of larger container sizes have been introduced to further increase shipping productivity on shipments within North America. Double-stack rail operations are growing in other parts of the world, but are constrained by clearance and other infrastructure limitations.
Double-stack cars come in a number of sizes, related to the standard sizes of the containers they are designed to carry. Well lengths of 12.19 m, 14.63 m and 16.15 m are most common. Heights range from 2.44 m to 2.90 m. Double stack requires a higher clearance above the tracks, or structure gauge, than do other forms of rail freight. Double-stack cars are most common in North America where intermodal traffic is heavy and electrification is less widespread. Nonetheless, North American railroads have invested large sums to raise bridges and tunnel clearances along their routes and remove other obstacles to allow greater use of double stack trains and to give them more direct routes. CSX lists three clearance heights above top of rail for double stack service: Doublestack 1 — 5.54 m Doublestack 2 — 5.84 m Doublestack 3 — 6.15 m The last clearance offers the most flexibility, allowing two high cube containers to be stacked. Intermodal containers shipped by rail within in North America are 53 feet long, with trailer-on-flat-car units used as well.
The 53 foot length reflects a common maximum length for highway semi-trailers, which varies by state. Major domestic intermodal carriers include: JB Hunt Swift Schneider National Hub GroupContainers shipped between North America and other continents consist of 40- and some 45- and 20-foot containers. Container ships only take 40's, 20's and 45's above deck. 90% of the containers that these ships carry are 40-footers and 90% of the world's freight moves on container ships. Most of these 40-foot containers are owned by non-U. S. companies like Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM. The only U. S. 40-foot container companies are leasing companies like Textainer, CAI. Southern Pacific Railroad, along with Malcom McLean, devised the double-stack intermodal car in 1977. SP designed the first car with ACF Industries that same year. At first it was slow to become an industry standard in 1984 American President Lines, started working with the Union Pacific Railroad and that same year, the first all double-stack train left Los Angeles, California for South Kearny, New Jersey, under the name of "Stacktrain" rail service.
Along the way the train transferred from the UP to the Chicago and North Western Railway and to Conrail. Low bridges and narrow tunnels in various locations prevent the operation of double-stack trains until costly upgrades are made; some Class I railroad companies in the U. S. in partnership with government agencies, have implemented improvement programs to remove obstructions to double-stack trains. Double-stack projects include: Heartland Corridor — $320 million Norfolk Southern Crescent Corridor — $2.5 billion National Gateway — $700 million Commonwealth Railway — $69 million Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program — $3 billion Cross-Harbor Rail Tunnel proposed to connect rail freight lines in New Jersey with Long Island, New York. — $10–14 billion Continental Rail Gateway, proposed tunnel between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario to replace the existing Michigan Central Railway Tunnel. — $400 million Forty-foot containers are the standard unit length and load bearing points are at the ends of such containers.
Longer containers, such as 45, 48 and 53 feet long, still have the load bearing points 40 feet apart, with the excess protruding outside this length. Therefore, 40-foot containers, or larger, can be stacked on 20-foot containers if there are two 20-foot containers in a row; the possible double-stacking patterns are: Two 20 ft in lower and one 40 ft in upper stack One 40 ft in lower and another 40 ft in upper stack Two 20 ft in lower and another set of two 20 ft in upper stack The container coupling holes are all female and double male twistlocks are required to securely mate container stacks together. China had started to use reduced size containers to be stacked onto normal containers to allow transport under 25 kV electrification, it did not allow for combination with hi-cube containers though. India has started to build a series of dwarf container for domestic transport to be run under 25 kV electrification. With 6 feet 4 inches they are 662 mm shorter but 162 mm wider than ISO shipping containers while still allowing for 67% m