By Paul Scott Abbott, AJOT
From containers to cars to cement, cargoes from Florida’s Atlantic Coast ports continue to flow steadily into Latin America, with future growth potential spurring marketing efforts and infrastructure developments.
“Port Everglades continues to plan for the development of two additional terminals in the Southport Container Complex area – one 25 acres and the other 45 acres – to accommodate growing container demand, much of which is generated from Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Carlos Buqueras, director of trade development for Port Everglades.
“Additionally, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners recently approved for the port to reclaim a 97-acre tract in the Southport area that was formerly leased to Flagler Development Corp.,” Buqueras added. “This additional acreage will provide Port Everglades with the opportunity to pursue master planning development that generates the best and highest land usage. The catalyst will be the potential growth of Latin America.”
Ray Mauri, cargo marketing manager at the Dante B. Fascell Port of Miami-Dade, one county to the South of Port Everglades, said he is seeing “marked improvement” in trade with the North Coast of South America, buoyed by a near-doubling in exports to Venezuela over year-ago volumes. Trade with Southern Cone countries also is on the upswing, he said, while the West Coast of South America continues to show “soft performance” and the Central American trade partners of Honduras and Costa Rica also are yielding lower-than-expected volumes.
Also in South Florida, the Port of Palm Beach, best-known as a Caribbean container juggernaut, is relying on bulk commodities to boost commerce with Latin America (Central and South America).
CP Cimento e Participcoes S.A. has just reached agreement with the Port of Palm Beach for development of a terminal to handle slag cement and Portland cement that the company will be shipping in from Brazil, according to Lori A. Baer, who this month assumed that port’s executive director role. Construction is to begin in early October, with operations to begin within nine to 12 months.
The cement terminal announcement comes just two months after the port entered the liquid asphalt business as South Florida Materials unloaded the first vessel bringing the commodity from Venezuela into a new, state-of-the-industry terminal and pipeline dedicated to handling the material. In addition, three months ago the Palm Beach port resumed receipt of Cemex cement ships from Venezuela.
Central Florida’s Port Canaveral is looking to European-made vehicles as an impetus for further trade with Central America. In late June “K” Line America Inc., which last year started Central American service from Port Canaveral, began transshipment of the vehicles, including BMWs and Peugeots, when it made the Central Florida port its first US discharge port for a fortnightly service from Europe.
Sailing schedules are coordinated such that the transshipped units spend less than a day at Port Canaveral, according to Lauren Kotas Brand, the Canaveral Port Authority’s director of marketing and trade development, who added, “This is our first transshipment ever.”
In North Florida, the Port of Jacksonville, long the leading mainland hub for Puerto Rico trade, is busy touting its gateway logistical advantages to South and Central American concerns as well. Those efforts are paying off, with a major Brazilian freight forwarding firm set to open its first US office in Jacksonville in September, according to Raul Alfonso, director of Latin American marketing and trade development for the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT).
“JAXPORT offers exceptional intermodal features, particularly on-dock rail with access parallel to ship berths and over 100 truck and drayage companies offering competitive backhaul rates,” Alfonso said.