City Port Authority May Continue Search for Trade Zone Operator / on National Level

Article excerpt

A two-member subcommittee will meet with staff members of the Oklahoma City Port Authority to consider furthering the campa ign to attract an operator of Foreign Trade Zone No. 106, the authority decided at its quarterly meeting Monday.

The committee will then study each of the applications generated by the campaign and present a report to the authority at its June 2 meeting.

Applications for operator were presented to the authority by Thurman Magbee Corp., an Oklahoma City wholesale distributor of consumer electronic products, and Cargo Development Group, a subsidiaryof Continental Air Lines Inc. and air cargo handler at Will Rogers World Airport.

Although neither application was rejected, authority members expressed concern that the public has not been fully informed "of what we're doing here," concerning the foreign trade zone project. An effort to locate an operator will be continued on a national level to give potential operators more time to consider taking on the project.

Board members expressed some distress that a letter sent Feb. 11 to 55 potential operators resulted in only two applications and another five verbal inquiries.

"There are no guarantees we are going to grow," said Carolyn Lyon, administrator for the zone.

A number of potential operators lost interest when they learned there would be limited profit in the zone, she said.

"It's too bad local companies are not willing to spend a couple of years with no income," board member Charles Nelson said.

"It would have to be considered a loss leader," he indicated and could only be considered by a company looking to development of the zone.

"Given the economic climate - we're not exactly a profit center here - the zone probably wouldn't make any money for some years," said Jess Matheny, co-manager of the zone and general manager of the Oklahoma Industries Authority.

Some 1,050 square feet of warehouse space at Will Rogers, which would otherwise rent for $4,525.50 annually or $377. …


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