Port Manatee, Palmetto, Fla., and Colombia are looking to expand commercial ties following a visit to the Florida Gulf Coast port.

“We see significant opportunity for growing trade between our nation and Port Manatee,” says Juan Barrera, general deputy director for the United States of ProColombia USA, Miami, Fla. “Both import and export opportunities exist for businesses in Manatee County and beyond, and we look forward to exploring these mutually beneficial possibilities.”

Colombia is said to be the third-largest economy in South America. Among Port Manatee trade partner countries, Colombia currently ranks as No. 9 for exports and No. 16 for imports..

“Not only do we anticipate building upon the fertilizer trade, but we expect to grow our commercial links with Colombia in other commodity sectors as well,” says Vanessa Baugh, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority. 

Since opening in 2014, the International Trade Hub at Port Manatee has played an integral role in expanding global connections for the port and Manatee County enterprises. Located “Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico,” Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanding Panama Canal, with 10 40-foot-draft berths serving container, bulk, breakbulk, heavylift, project and general cargo customers.