Marketing and Public Relations Manager
PALMETTO, Fla. – 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 today, 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 Dec. 1-3 mission to the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, where he met with such key individuals as James D. Nealon, U.S. ambassador to Honduras; Melvin Redondo, Honduran undersecretary for economic integration and trade; Erasmo Padilla, president of the Honduran Commission for the Promotion of Public-Private Partnerships; Roberto Ordoñez, Honduran minister of infrastructure and public works; Leo Castellon, general manager of The National Port Company of Honduras; Maria Andrea Matamoros, vice chancellor of the Honduran Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; and Ebal Díaz, executive secretary of Honduran zones for employment and economic development.
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, as 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 Florida and Southeast Florida.
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. The port generates more than $2.3 billion in annual economic impact for the local community, while supporting more than 24,000 jobs, without levying ad-valorem taxes.
From left, Matty Appice, Port Manatee’s senior director of trade development and sales, meets with James D. Nealon, U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, and Florida Commerce Secretary Bill Johnson, who also serves as president and chief executive officer of Enterprise Florida Inc.