Miami Ports Stay Positive As Exports Of Others In Florida Slide
By Cliff Bowden
While exports through Port Everglades and Jacksonville fell in the second quarter 2000 compared to the previous year, business at Miami International Airport gained 7.7% and at Port of Miami soared 19.4% in the period, a world trade report shows.
The Wachovia Corp. found an overall 12.9% gain in Florida’s trade activity in the period.
The Port of Miami’s growth through the year’s first eight months equaled the state’s average almost 13% for exports and imports combined, said Charles Towsley, port director.
Growth in seaport business can be attributed to a number of factors, Mr. Towsley said, prominent among them strong trade with Europe, a rebound in trade with Asia and a strengthening in the South and Central American markets.
The seaport has been able to capitalize on new alliances among steamship lines, he said, including the Grand Alliance of multiple firms this year and a three-line Asian alliance in 1999. Those shippers share cargo space and by using economies of scale increase their trade.
"We’ve been fortunate enough to get some of those alliances," Mr. Towsley said.
Miami International Airport is benefitting from improved economies in Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuela, said Marc Henderson, airport information officer. He cited increased electronics imports from Brazil and the reduced inflation in Ecuador as that nation switched to dollar-denominated currency.
The Wachovia Florida World Trade Index showed Florida exports for the second quarter were $7.45 billion 6.4% more than in the second quarter ’99. Exports were up 4.8%, the sale of manufactured exports rose 5.9% and non-manufactured exports were up 17.6% in the quarter, according to Wachovia.
Wachovia valued Florida imports in the period at $10.78 billion 17.8% more than in the second quarter of ’99.
J. Kenneth Coppedge, Wachovia Florida banking president, said exports to Latin America and the Far East showed some strength in the quarter but "shipments to the European Union did not keep pace with previous rates of growth."
The pace of trade kept Florida in the No. 7 spot nationally, Mr. Coppedge said.
Other details in the state’s second quarter trade picture this year compared to second quarter ’99, Wachovia reports, included a 12% rise in the value of industrial machinery and equipment exported to $1.56 billion.
Industrial machinery and equipment is the state’s largest export.
Electronic and electrical products, in the No. 2 spot, enjoyed a 14% boost to $1.44 billion while sales of these products to Mexico more than tripled.
While Brazil remained Florida’s top trading partner in the quarter, Canada held the No. 2 spot with 14% more purchases of Florida goods this year than in second quarter 1999. Mexico now holds the No. 3 spot at $443.5 million and a 6% share of all export activity.
Miami International Airport’s share of shipments, at $4.05 billion, rose 8% in the quarter, according to Wachovia.
Florida’s trade deficit in the month, Wachovia says, was $3.33 billion.
While food exports fell 7.6% in the second quarter, according to the Wachovia study, the Port of Miami is strengthening its business in part due to "an increased interest in perishable commodities coming back from Central America," Mr. Towsley said.
That region, hard hit by hurricane damage last year, he said, is now shipping more bananas and melons into the seaport.