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This story was originally published in the American Journal of Transportation on April 27, 2020. For the full article, click here: (click here).

"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the movement of goods into, out of and throughout the United States, the consistent response across the freight network in the bi-state St. Louis region has helped to ensure it continues to deliver in these unprecedented times.

America’s Central Port and Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA) were swift to implement measures such as social distancing, transitioning most office staff to work from home, having field supervisors alternate work days, increasing sanitation efforts for equipment, work spaces, and job sites, and introducing new procedures, such as having employees report directly to job sites for safety briefings instead of congregating indoors. The port implemented two-person teams in the maintenance department to significantly reduce any potential exposure to the virus, while operators are taking temperature readings of employees entering or leaving their towboats at the beginning and end of their shifts. They also interview each employee about their well being to quickly identify any symptoms.

Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Executive Director of America’s Central Port (ACP), says that even with all these changes, the operators at the port continue to handle a tremendous volume of corn and soybeans, and the by-products, destined to ultimately feed the U.S. and the world.

“It has been business as usual with a tremendous amount of freight still moving to and through the St. Louis area. Everyone has heightened awareness of the need to reduce potential exposure to the virus and are limiting any close contact with other workers, but the food stock and freight continue to move,” said Wilmsmeyer. “The operators here are just as essential to keeping the supply of food on the shelves as the truck driver who makes those daily deliveries.”

... continue reading here: (click here).

America’s Central Port, Grantee of Foreign Trade Zone 31 (FTZ 31) and NOTS Logistics have been working together to bring another “value-added” benefit to companies in the Nashville, IL area.

Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc., a long-time customer of NOTS Logistics, was approved for FTZ designation and activation at their Nashville, IL distribution warehouse as FTZ 31’s newest Operator on February 14, 2020. Toyo Tire complimented the work of NOTS Logistics and FTZ 31 staff for making the approval process quick and easy.

Foreign trade zones are federally designated areas within the United States that are considered “outside the US territory” that were created to encourage foreign commerce and help the US economy by allowing companies to source component products from around the world at competitive prices to keep value-added activities, such as manufacturing, within the United States.

NOTS Logistics, a customized supply-chain solutions company located in Nashville, IL, offers their customers an array of services from leasing warehouse space to warehouse management and staffing to transportation management. “FTZ designation is another incentive we can offer to strengthen our partnership with our customers,” says Kevin Brink, NOTS Logistics’ Vice President of Business Development.

With the expansion of FTZ 31’s Service Area in 2018, companies located within the 12-county area in Southwestern Illinois can receive FTZ designation in as little as 30 days. “This is the first activation, of which I hope to be many, in our expanded Service Area. Helping companies to successfully grow their global competitiveness in Southwestern Illinois is the mission of FTZ 31,” said Robbie Williams, FTZ 31 Administrator. “I have to thank the Foreign Trade Zones Board staff and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol – St. Louis District for their cooperation and responsiveness in finalizing this new site,” said Williams.

“We are already seeing the positive effects of Toyo becoming an FTZ Operator,” said Brink. “We have begun receiving more shipments and have already had to hire additional people to handle the additional product.”


Additional Information:

Foreign Trade Zone 31

America's Central Port, Grantee of FTZ 31, facilitates zone administration as a public benefit to manufacturers and distribution centers. Operating under the Alternative Site Framework for Foreign Trade Zones, companies located within our service area can be designated as an FTZ site within 30 days after filing the application. 

Businesses importing products to store, assemble, manufacture, mix, use, test, or display can realize significant savings by taking advantage of any one or more of the benefits of operating within a Foreign Trade Zone.

Duty Deferral

When importing product into the U.S., a duty may be assessed on the product. FTZs allow businesses to defer this duty until the product is removed from the Zone and enters the U.S. commerce.

Duty Reduction

When importing parts for manufacturing or assembly in an FTZ, duties may be reduced, or inverted, to the rate of the final product, reducing the cost on the imported part.

Duty Elimination

When goods are admitted to an FTZ and are exported to another country, the duty on the imported product is eliminated entirely.

Foreign Trade Zone 31 (FTZ 31) encompasses a 12-county Service Area in Southwest Illinois. This service area includes Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Greene, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Randolph, St. Clair, and Washington Counties.

Within the Service Area, there are three Magnet Site locations. Magnet Sites are pre-designated sites located at existing industrial and distribution facilities whose transportation infrastructure, building space and available land are well established, giving businesses built-in flexibility for their operations.

America’s Central Port The Port provides multi-modal transportation, with access to six Class-I railroads, two Mississippi River harbors, and easy access to four major interstate highways. Warehouse, office space, and multiple development-ready sites are available for lease. This site also offers a public warehouse with FTZ-activated space for storing imported merchandise. 

Gateway Commerce Center This 2,200+ acre warehouse and distribution park offers build-to-suit and land sale options, with immediate access to four major interstate highways. Located on site are third-party logistics and trucking companies providing shipping and supply-chain options. 

MidAmerica St. Louis Airport

The airport offers over 2,500 acres of air cargo facility development and hosts state-of-the-art cargo support facilities for international and domestic customers, with easy access to four major interstate highways, as well as being a commercial passenger airport. 

For more information about Foreign Trade Zone No. 31, or to discuss how foreign trade zone benefits may be able to help your company, please contact Ms. Robbie Williams at (618) 452-8440 or via email at

NOTS Logistics | North Nashville, IL Industrial Park and Warehouse Complex

With over 750 acres of combined developed / available warehouse, industrial, and retail investment space, the North Nashville, IL Complex offers transportation, labor providers, and supply chain logistical services. The North Nashville, IL Complex supports existing large manufactures and a growing industrial presence. Located directly on a major Interstate and with close proximity to others, the North Nashville, IL Complex is strategically placed to positively impact economic growth and development in the Metro East / Southern Illinois area.

For more information about NOTS Logistics, or to discover how NOTS Logistics can help your business grow, contact Kevin Brink, Vice President Business Development, at (800) 642-5436 ext. 316 or via email at or visit our website at

To help hospitality businesses make ends meet in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, DCEO is launching the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program with $14 million drawn from funds originally budgeted for job training, tourism promotion, and other purposes. Grant funds are available to support working capital like payroll and rent, as well as job training, retraining, and technology to support shifts in operations, like increased pick-up and delivery. Bars and restaurants that generated between $500K and $1M in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $25,000, and bars and restaurants that generated less than $500K in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $10,000.  Hotels that generated less than $8M in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $50,000.

Who is eligible?

Bars and restaurants with a valid license to serve food or liquor and who generated revenues of less than $1 million in 2019. Hotels with a valid license (hotels, motels other lodging establishments) and who generated revenues of less than $8 million in 2019.

What can grant funds be used for?

For bars and restaurants, based on the businesses needs identified in the grant application, funds can be used to support working capital (rent, payroll, and other accounts payable), job training (such as new practices related to take out, delivery and sanitation) and technology enabling new operations as well as other costs to implement that technology. For hotels, funds can be used as working capital to support the retention of employees.

How do businesses apply?

Businesses can submit an application online here: Landing Page, English Application, Spanish Application. Applications for awards will be accepted until 5:00pm on April 1st, and winners will be chosen via a lottery, therefore, there is no benefit to submitting an application first as long as a valid, complete application is received by the deadline.

Applications for awards will be accepted until 5:00pm on April 1st, 2020.

How much money is available?

$14 million is available under this program.

  • Bars and restaurants that generated less than $500,000 in annual revenue last year will be eligible for up to $10,000.

  • Bars and restaurants that generated between $500,000 and $1M in annual revenue last year will be eligible for up to $25,000.

  • Hotels that generated less than $8 million in annual revenue last year will be eligible for up to $50,000.

How soon will businesses receive funds?

Accion will notify businesses on April 4th if they have received an award. Accion and DCEO are striving to make funds available to awarded businesses within two days of receiving the necessary bank information from an awarded grantee.

Information on other programs for Illinois small businesses launched under the leadership of Governor JB Pritzker and DCEO can be found on the DCEO website here

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