PALMETTO — On June 4, Port Manatee will sign an agreement with the Rio de Janeiro Port Authority to become International Sister Seaports, the local port announced in a release.
Port Manatee says the agreement will open trade opportunities with Brazil by establishing regular shipping lines and allowing for unfettered communication between the two ports, including information on the two ports' industries, statistics, planned infrastructure developments, marketing and research.
“This agreement is like Olympic gold for Florida's Gulf Coast,” says Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee's executive director, in the release.
The agreement is the first of its kind for a seaport on Florida's Gulf Coast, the release says. Brazil is Florida's largest trade partner, and Port Manatee is a principal importer in the Southeast of Brazilian orange juice and lumber.
Port Manatee is located at the entrance to Tampa Bay, and is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the Panama Canal. The port has more than 1 million of public warehouse and office space, and nearly 1.5 miles of berthing for ships, according to its website.