Freeport Bahamas: The Hong Kong of the Americas
Freeport is a 230-square-mile free trade zone on Grand Bahama Island, established in 1955 by the Government of the Bahamas. The city of Freeport emerged from a land grant comprising 50,000 acres of swamp and scrub to become a cosmopolitan center, promoting both good business and the good life.
The Grand Bahama Port Authority operates the free trade zone, under special powers conferred by the government under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, which was recently extended until August 3, 2054. The agreement also increased the land grants to 138,000 acres. The Port Authority is the major provider and developer of services in the free trade zone and offers an expanding portfolio of opportunities that includes investment in its own subsidiary companies.
Gateway To The Americas
Freeport’s perfect location at the gateway to the Americas is a major incentive to industrial development. The city is only a 30-minute plane ride from southern Florida, and its harbor is the closest offshore port to the United States. The free trade zone is well-positioned for global commerce, located at the crossroads of routes between Europe, North and South American trade links, and international shipping transiting through the Panama Canal.
Tax Benefits: No Import Duties for Business
Under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, businesses in the free trade zone pay no taxes on profits, capital gains, inheritance, income, earnings, distributions, gifts, or on imported and exported goods. In addition, import duties and taxes on real estate have been waived through August 3, 2015.
The Freeport Harbor
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The entrance to Freeport Harbor is a 500 foot wide, 1,800-foot-long straight channel, 47-feet deep channel, with a turning basin depth of 44 feet. Already a port for the Discovery cruise line, Freeport welcomes more than half a million tourists annually, as the harbor is currently undergoing expansion that will make it the finest deep-water container transshipment port in the hemisphere. The harbor’s close relationship with Freeport International Airport, a 10-minute drive away, together with excellent tug and piloting services, makes it an ideal center for homeporting, with significant additional capacity.
Only 15 minutes from South Florida by air.
Freeport International Airport–one of the largest privately-owned airports in the world–consists of state-of-the-art facilities, such as an 11,000-foot-long runway that accommodates international jet aircraft 24 hours daily. Refueling and hub operations are managed by the Grand Bahama Airport Company Ltd. at its full service terminal, complete with pre-clearance facilities for U.S. customs and immigration.
Freeport’s airport averages nearly 50,000 flights a year. Airlines with regularly scheduled flights include: American Eagle, Delta, Continental, Laker Airways International, Gulf Stream International, and Bahamasair, with charters also available. Direct or hub flights connect Freeport with Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, and New York, as well as Toronto and Milan.
Quality of Life
Freeport is approximately the size of Singapore, with more than 400 miles of excellent wide-paved roads, as well as miles of well-engineered waterways bordering private homes. The average commute to work is just ten minutes. The area also enjoys modern educational and health facilities, cable television, a wealth of cultural events, extensive leisure facilities, duty-free shopping, and a cosmopolitan nightlife.
A wide variety of sports are also available, including golf, tennis, squash, football, soccer, rugby, cricket, horseback riding, softball, baseball, volleyball, darts and bowling. Water sports include sailing, fishing, swimming, diving, water-skiing and windsurfing.
The mild subtropical climate makes the island a natural greenhouse, with an average temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and 75 percent average humidity. Because of prevailing winds and sensible planning, the air on Grand Bahama Island is exceptionally clean, and the fresh water table is considered capable of supporting a quarter of a million people.
Freeport Power Company Limited has joined with The Southern Electric Company of the United States, bringing major equipment upgrades and the latest in digital technology to provide low-cost power for the free trade zone.