Port Manatee enjoying dynamic growth with room to grow

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Port Manatee looks to be the fastest-growing port in the country. Recent figures show the port proves a dynamic increase in trade activity within the past 4 months, bringing an international boost to the Suncoast economy.

The port’s significant growth in commerce ultimately creates more job opportunities.

From lumber to aluminum to Del Monte produce, Port Manatee's trade activity is seeing an increase in these standard commodities. And World City Trade numbers show the port's growth in commerce surpassed the U.S. as a whole in the first four months of 2014, showing more than $257 million in trade value just this year , and exports growing at more than 9 times the national pace.

"The biggest benefit Port Manatee has it's that it's not hemmed in by a city. Most ports in Florida -- Miami, Everglades, Palm Beach -- have only very limited footprint," says Port Manatee Executive Director Carlos Buqueras.

With the world's leader in liquified natural gas technology – lNG Heat Exchangers -- being made at Port Manatee, and more than 5,000 acres of land nearby, exports are expected to get a boost.

"Some economic forecasts view Port Manatee as a future super port because of its unlimited availability of nearby land,” says Buqueras.

As the closest U.S. deep water port to the expanding Panama Canal, they forsee trading to increase all the more. "It's not a shallow water port, it's a deep water port; it's able to bring in ships when they do start transiting the Panama Canal. Deeper draft, bigger ships, more economic impact."

Bringing in more than $2.3 billion dollars to the local economy, the port currently supports more than 24,000 jobs. But officials see the opportunity for more jobs in the near future.