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  December 21st, 2015 | Written by

Port Manatee Advances Honduras Trade Initiative

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  • Port exec: Honduras offers prospects for trade which Port Manatee is ideally positioned to serve.
  • Honduras is among Florida’s top-10 merchandise trading partners.
  • Trade mission to Honduras was led by Florida Commerce Secretary Bill Johnson.

Port Manatee is advancing a trade initiative with Honduras following participation in a strategic Enterprise Florida economic opportunity mission spearheaded by Florida’s commerce secretary.

“Honduras offers significant prospects for two-way trade which Port Manatee is ideally positioned to serve,” Matty Appice, Port Manatee’s senior director of trade development and sales, said, following his return from the three-day mission. “Honduras is already among Florida’s top-10 merchandise trading partners, and we see Port Manatee benefiting from an expansion of this already-fruitful relationship.”

Appice was a leading port participant in the early-December mission to the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, where he met with James D. Nealon, U.S. ambassador to Honduras, as well as several Honduran officials.

Appice also met in the Central American nation with boards of the National Association of Industrialists of Honduras, American Chamber of Commerce of Honduras, and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tegucigalpa, as well as numerous potential users of Port Manatee.

The mission was led by Florida Commerce Secretary Bill Johnson, who also serves as president and chief executive officer of Enterprise Florida Inc., the state’s principal economic development organization.       Appice was the sole port representative from the Tampa Bay-Central Florida region, and officials of South Florida’s PortMiami and Port Everglades were the only other port representatives among the delegation of more than three-dozen Florida company executives and other commercial leaders.

While Honduran officials talked of infrastructure progress in their country and opportunities for trade, Appice focused upon Port Manatee’s positioning as an ideal gateway to burgeoning consumer markets of central and southeast Florida.

Located in the Tampa Bay area, Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanding Panama Canal, with 10 40-foot-draft berths serving container, bulk, breakbulk, heavy lift, project and general cargo customers.