Foreign-Trade Zone concept was first explored by Governor John A. Burns (who served in Congress prior to Statehood in 1959) in the early 1960’s. Hawaii’s FTZ program evolved as a result of a 1963 study by Dr. John Hazard, University of Hawaii: “Transshipment Hawaii, Steps Toward an East-West Distribution and Processing Center.” The study focused on use of a Foreign-Trade Zone as key to development of new trade patterns for Hawaii.
Enabling State legislation passed in 1963 as Act 201 authorized the State to apply for a Foreign-Trade Zone grant.
In 1964, the grant application was filed with the Foreign-Trade Zones Board of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Approval of the grant was received on February 15, 1965 by FTZ Board Order No. 65. Pier 39, Honolulu Harbor, was selected as Hawaii’s first FTZ site and leased from the U.S. Army. Foreign-Trade Zone No. 9 was activated on June 15, 1966 with Homer A. Maxey, Jr. as FTZ#9’s first Administrator.
To accommodate the growing use of the Zone, FTZ#9 expanded its Pier 39 site into the warehouse and yard areas on January 29, 1968. Pier 39, Honolulu Harbor, was leased from the U.S. Army as the site for FTZ#9.
Since that time, Foreign-Trade Zone No. 9 has moved its headquarters location to Pier 2 just off of downtown Honolulu and has grown to include 13 sites across the main Hawaiian Islands with 2,600 acres designated as FTZ. Foreign-Trade Zone No. 9 currently oversees five activated sites including Hawaii’s two refineries and its own general purpose zone at Pier 2. From its beginning as a start up operation in 1966, FTZ#9 has grown today become one of the nation’s oldest and most respected FTZ.