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World class ports make Florida an import-export giant

With 15 seaports strategically positioned along its extensive coastline, this peninsula state ships homegrown produce to destinations across the United States and well beyond.

In 2017, international trade moving through Florida’s seaports was valued at $83.2 billion, representing 55 percent of the state’s total international trade. Last year, Florida ranked seventh among the nation’s top exporting states, with fresh and processed fruits and vegetables among the Sunshine State’s top five agricultural exports.

Two of Florida’s busiest seaports, Port Everglades and PortMiami, seem to be battling it out for supremacy.

“Both ports have been going at it since day one, and it’s great for the industry,” says Customs broker Frank Ramos of The Perishable Specialist, Inc., Miami. “We have two of the best ports in the country, 30 miles apart from each other. I have crews stationed at both ports, and it’s a pleasure to work with both.”

Located on the southeast coast of Florida, Port Everglades is one of the most active containerized cargo ports in the United States and is a top conduit for perishables. Trade through the Port creates more than $28 billion in economic value for the state, while impacting   224,054 Florida jobs, including 13,322 employees who provide direct services at the port.

The Port of Everglades’ upgraded cold treatment program now handles a wide range of once-restricted tropical fruits due to various pests. A wide range of exports now flow freely from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama in Central America and Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay in South America.

Last year, Port Everglades kicked off a major improvement project to boost trade opportunities. Scheduled for a 2024 completion, the Port will deepen its main navigational channels and widen certain areas to allow for the passage of larger cargo ships.

PortMiami is also working on a roster of projects, known as its “2035 Master Plan” and designed to promote international trade and foster future growth. The plan includes improvements to port’s cargo, cruise, and commercial areas with a focus on sustainability.

Currently, it is the largest container port in the Sunshine State, contributes more than $40 billion in economic impact to Miami-Dade County annually, and currently generates 324,352 direct and indirect jobs. The port’s cargo traffic is expected to double over the next 10 years.

This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full article.

Amy Bell is a professional freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience. She writes for publications and companies across the nation. Visit to learn more.