HECNA Global Forum attendees had the opportunity today to visit the Colon Duty Free Trade Zone, located about one hour outside of Panama City. The Trade Zone is a key trans-shipment point where product suppliers and distributors hold products for re-shipment to their final destination. Customs duties are only paid once the product enters the final destination country. May’s Zona Libre is the largest distributor operating with the Trade Zone, offering a full-line assortment of products to retail stores located throughout Central America, South America and the Caribbean. May’s has more than 100,000 SKUs in inventory, allowing the company to service more than 1,000 department store customers in over 40 countries.
Global Forum attendees took a tour of the May’s showroom, which is organized like a large department store to showcase products to buyers. Later in the day, attendees toured the May’s warehouse that totals 3.4 million square feet. The more than 100 containers filled with incoming merchandise unloaded daily are countered by an equivalent number of containers that are consolidated and shipped to fulfill orders each day. Even if holding merchandise within the Colon Duty Free Trade Zone is not part of your current strategy, it is highly recommended to become familiar with this distribution model.