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Report: SeaPort Manatee sees 5-year surge in exports

For the third year in a row, SeaPort Manatee has handled more than $1 billion in imports.
For the third year in a row, SeaPort Manatee has handled more than $1 billion in imports.
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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SeaPort Manatee has seen a surge in exports in the past five years, according to port officials. 

Exports have increased by 231.55% over the past five years and increased by 11.6% in the last year, officials say.

Heavy-lift machinery has driven the spike, with a 55% year-over-year increase. This type of machinery accounts for $102 million of the port’s $351.17 million in exports for 2023, based on the WorldCity SeaPort Manatee Trade Numbers brochure. 

These are the top five exports from SeaPort Manatee, the brochure says:

  1. Machinery for heating and sterilizing
  2. Wood pulp, not dissolving grade
  3. Uncoated kraft paper, paperboard
  4. Scrap iron, steel
  5. Paper, paperboard scrap

There were 459 different types of exports shipped out of SeaPort Manatee in 2023, the most ever, according to SeaPort Manatee’s brochure. Five of them grew by more than 1,000% in the last year — frozen beef, makeup and skincare products, computers, metal sheeting gaskets and motor vehicle chassis.

Exports have been increasing for four years at SeaPort Manatee now, the brochure says. This was the third year for breaking the previous year’s export total.

While exports increased year-over-year, imports were down slightly. The port handled $1.84 billion in imports, down 10.04% from 2023, according to SeaPort Manatee. This marks the third consecutive year the port has handled more than $1 billion in imports. While the year-over-year percentage of imports was down, it has trended up in the last five years, with imports up 111.12%.

These are the top five imports at SeaPort Manatee:

  1. Fruit and vegetable juices, not fortified
  2. Refrigerators, freezers
  3. Aluminum, unwrought
  4. Natural calcium and phosphate
  5. Bananas and plantains



Elizabeth King

Elizabeth is a business news reporter with the Business Observer, covering primarily Sarasota-Bradenton, in addition to other parts of the region. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she previously covered hyperlocal news in Maryland for Patch for 12 years. Now she lives in Sarasota County.

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