Addressing the Port Authority in a meeting last week, Becca Hardin, interim director of the Bay County’s Economic Development Alliance (EDA), said that the EDA is targeting automotive companies in the Southeast in particular.
The IDC would be beneficial for companies that also conduct business in Mexico and could best utilise the port’s facilities for manufacturing, assembling, and shipping products, according to the EDA. The site has direct port access, is served by major highways, and is ready to be served by rail with a spur already in place. It also has a direct connection to Port Panama City, which is equipped with loading and unloading facilities for truck, rail, barge, container, ro-ro vessel, and deep-water vessel traffic.
The location provides a Gulf Coast gateway to Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and the Carolinas. It also serves as a trading partner to Mexico, Central America, South America, China, Europe, and the Mediterranean. The IDC also comes with Foreign Trade Zone status, meaning that foreign merchandise can be held in a duty-free space, until it is ready to enter the commerce of the US.
The 54-acre site on the IDC property recently received certification through the Gulf Power Florida First Sites programme, which aims to generate new business in the area. The Panama City Port Authority, Gulf Power, and the Bay County Economic Development Alliance are now working on marketing the site for prospective customers.