Diversified Economy

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Commodity Central
Port Manatee Tops in Trade and Gives Our Local Economy an International Market

Known as one of Florida’s largest and fastest-growing seaports, as well as the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the Panama Canal, Port Manatee handles a wide array of cargo, attracting diverse businesses to the region. This full-service, multipurpose seaport serves container, bulk, breakbulk, heavylift, project and general cargo clients.

Port Manatee is a major economic driver for the county that generates more than $2.3 billion in annual economic impact locally while supporting more than 24,000 jobs. Due to its wide range of growth, Port Manatee has also enjoyed a record fiscal year. The port handled an all-time high of more than 9.3 million tons, which is up 19.1 percent from last year.

Imports include steel, tropical fruits and vegetables and refined petroleum productions. Exports include citrus juices, construction and road building equipment and used vehicles. Port Manatee recently reopened one of its berths, which is now dedicated to accommodate heavier loads. The re-opening was part of a multimillion-dollar reconstruction project in cooperation with the Florida Department of Transportation.

One of the most attractive advantages Port Manatee offers is its proximity to major transportation networks. Interstates 75, 275 and 4, as well as Highways 41 and 301, give trucks direct access to roadways throughout the country. Port Manatee’s short line railroad links to CSX Corp.’s mainline.

Port Manatee is home to the International Trade Hub, which was founded to be southwest Florida’s leading platform and gateway for international trade. Since opening nearly five years ago, the International Trade Hub at Port Manatee has played a vital role in expanding global connections for the port and Manatee County businesses. s

Beautiful, warm weather, lovely places to live and many attractions combined with a business-friendly environment draw companies to Manatee County and encourage others to stay and grow here. One of the area’s top economic drivers is tourism, as the county welcomes a large number of visitors each year. In 2017, approximately 3.2 million visitors enjoyed the quality of life in Manatee County with an economic impact of $1.2 billion

Beyond our vibrant tourism market, the region is a profitable place to do business for many other industries, too. Organizations like the Manatee Chamber have placed an emphasis on growing resources for young professionals and entrepreneurs while helping existing businesses expand. The state’s favorable business tax environment, growth rates, educational attainment and young adult affluence are some of the reasons the area snagged the top spot on MoneyRates.com’s list of spots for young business entrepreneurs.

Manatee County has diverse, thriving sectors including health care, finance and banking, business services, construction and development, hospitality, logistics/distribution, sports performance, advanced manufacturing, real estate, education and agriculture. Companies with national and international visibility include Tropicana Products, IMG Academy, Champs Sports, Beall’s Inc., Feld Entertainment, It Works! Global and Air Products. Bradenton hosts the Pittsburgh Pirates for Major League Baseball Spring Training and the minor league Bradenton Marauders, as well as year-round training at Pirate City.

From start-up ventures to family-owned shops, from corporate headquarters to major distribution centers – and every size and type of business in between, Manatee County is poised for even greater success.