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World Direct Shipping soon plans to launch a direct, weekly service at Port Manatee in Palmetto, Fla., offering a fast two-way connection between Mexico and U.S. markets for refrigerated produce and other goods.To begin Oct. 28, the service will focus on fulfilling a need for a more prompt transportation link for both perishable and nonperishable goods, World Direct Shipping officials said in a press release."With a transit time of only two-and-a-half days, [we offer] the quickest short-sea connection to the U.S. Southeast, Northeast and Midwest," said Carlos Diaz, World Direct Shipping's business director. "Port Manatee's [close] proximity to Mexico is ideal for this service. This new fast connection will offer reduced costs and enhanced delivery of a fresher product to consumers east of the Mississippi River."A ship with an 862-container capacity will transport the cargo between Port Manatee and the Port of Coatzacoalcos in the the Mexican state of Veracruz. Produce would include pineapples, avocados, limes, mangos and bananas, while nonperishable goods would include machinery, vehicles, lumber, paper products, juice concentrates, sugar and beer.Initially, imported cargo would move from Port Manatee via a truck/rail combination. As volumes grow, World Direct Shipping would be interested in a unit-train service direct from the Florida port, said Port Manatee Marketing and Public Relations Manager Virginia Zimmermann in an email. Port Manatee’s railroad operates about eight miles of track and connects to a CSX Transportation mainline less than a mile from the port's north gate.