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Sister ports

Updated: 2012-03-07

4. Europe – Free Port of Trieste in Italy

Sister ports

The Free Port of Trieste is a port on the North Adriatic Sea in Trieste, Italy. It is subdivided into five different Free Areas, three of which have been allotted to commercial activities. The remaining two, the Mineral Oils Free Area and the “Canale di Zaule” Free Area, are used for industrial activities. The port is divided into various terminals, which are managed by private companies.

Under free port regulations, goods reaching the port by land from Italy or the EU are considered definitively exported, and goods of foreign origin arriving by land are considered foreign goods in transit. Goods arriving from abroad by sea may transit freely and be sent to their foreign destinations. By virtue of exclusive regulations on customs credits, customs duties on goods destined for import may be paid after six months at reduced annual interest rates. The port's special extra-customs status also allows commercial operations to be carried out on goods deposited under the foreign regimen. Repackaging, labeling, industrial processing and other activities are also possible under the same terms.

Besides being the responsibility of the Port Authority (a publicly-run body), management of the port's warehouses is also conducted by many private companies, such as forwarding companies or port terminal operators, working in complete autonomy within the Port Authority regulations.

The status of the Free Port Zones has remained a distinctive feature of the Port of Trieste throughout its history. Granted in 1719 by the Habsburg Monarchy and restricted in 1891, this special status has been confirmed by subsequent peace treaties, by the European Community and by the Italian Parliament. Most port land is subject to this rule and therefore lies outside the jurisdiction of European Union Customs.

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