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Port Manatee officials last week met with trade commissioners from eight nations to discuss the potential for expansion of international commerce through the port.Joining port officials for the Feb. 22 meeting were representatives from Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and Spain. The nations constitute the majority of board membership of the International Trade Commissioners of Florida (INTRADE)."This unique gathering further places Port Manatee and Manatee County on the radar screen of companies seeking to pursue investment and trade opportunities in Florida," said Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee's executive director, in a press release.Expanding commercial ties with the eight countries will help connect global interests with the fast-growing consumer base in central and southern Florida, said Manatee County Port Authority Vanessa Baugh.Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the Panama Canal, with 10 40-foot-draft berths serving container, bulk, breakbulk, heavy-lift, project and general cargo customers.Port Manatee's short line railroad directly connects to the CSX mainline, which is less than 1 mile from the port's north gate.
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