YATCO interviewed Gili Wojnowich, IGY Marinas Regional Director at Yacht Haven Grande – Miami on the impetus behind becoming a FTZ – a Foreign Trade Zone.
Hi, Gili, thanks for talking to us about Yacht Haven Grande – Miami – it sounds like the second-happiest place on Earth! Please tell us a little about the marina.
Yacht Haven Grande Miami (formerly Island Gardens Marina) is located on Watson Island in the heart of the Miami metropolitan area. The state-of-the-art marina boasts a wide array of dockside services including golf cart transportation, superyacht shore power, high-speed fiberoptic internet, in-slip waste disposal, and fuel bunkering capabilities. The marina has the capacity to accommodate virtually any size yacht with a maximum length of over 550 feet, no air draft restriction, and a maximum draft of 28 feet. Vessels berthed at this marina will be met with unparalleled views of the downtown Miami skyline and are near Miami’s arts and culture district, South Beach, and major entertainment venues. The marina is a part of IGY’s expansive network of superyacht destination marinas, therefore, customers will have the added benefit of realizing real financial and experiential benefits when traveling to or from other IGY locations.
What is a Foreign Trade Zone and why was it so important for IGY Marinas to seek such a status for Yacht Haven Grande – Miami?
A Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) is generally considered to be a secure area under U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) supervision and are typically active within many commercial maritime ports and warehouse districts. Foreign and domestic goods and property may be moved into these zones for operations such as storage, exhibition, assembly, manufacturing, and processing.
These zones are becoming increasingly popular and valuable for certain marinas and shipyards in that vessels can be properly registered to enter an approved zone and remain in that zone for an unlimited period to be transacted (sold) without being subject to duty and excise tax.
Yacht Haven Grande Miami is proud to be the first and only designated marine FTZ in Miami-Dade County. As one of the premier international destinations for high-net-worth individuals and superyachts in general, IGY sees this as an amazing opportunity for international superyacht sales brokers to show off and sell their yacht inventory from all over the world to potential US buyers. We anticipate this FTZ designation to effectively become a catalyst for creating a year-around yacht show in Miami that can very efficiently and economically generate the perfect atmosphere for yacht brokers and prospective owners and sellers to do business.
What did you have to do in order to become a FTZ?
IGY engaged with subject matter experts to properly apply for the FTZ designation and ready the facility for subsequent inspections and approval by the CBP and the FTZ board. Thankfully, we were successful in meeting all CBP’s requirements and were granted the FTZ designation in April 2021. We continue to work with our partners and brokers to ensure that all vessel inquiries are addressed, and proper documentation is filed with the CBP to make this process smooth and efficient. The marina continues to uphold specific requirements related to signage, security, and documentation in order to remain compliant with FTZ operating standards.
What does this mean for the yachting industry as a whole?
The growth of FTZ designated facilities in the U.S. is a major boost for the entire yachting industry as it ultimately means that more yachts will find it beneficial to not only visit U.S. ports of call but to also stay for potentially extended periods of time to undergo maintenance and repair work or to be placed on the market for sale. With each yacht that enters U.S. waters comes an immense economic driver that creates jobs, moves goods, and strengthens the U.S. market share among other international competitors. IGY views the newly created FTZ in Miami as the perfect one-stop sales zone and encourages yacht owners and brokers alike to consider all the benefits of positioning their yacht inventory in one of the most remarkable cities on earth.
What are some other amenities at the marina that make it easier for brokers and captains to conduct business?
The marina continues to add and improve to its existing amenity base. The marina lounge space provides a comfortable setting for yacht owners, crew, and brokers to conduct private meetings, host intimate social gatherings, and set the stage for a successful transaction. With the recent creation of a private conference room, enhanced high-speed internet, and the availability of large flat-screen televisions for presentation purposes, brokers, captains, and owners can easily interact in a professional setting with uninterrupted views of the marina and the downtown skyline. Additionally, all vessels berthed within the FTZ will be met with the same array of high-level services that are offered to other visiting vessels and executed by our highly trained marina staff.
Gili, thank you for talking to us about this very important leap that IGY Marinas has taken in Dade County. It can only enhance our industry and help brokers to more easily show foreign-flagged vessels to their US clients.