PortsMIAMI – On behalf of Florida’s 15 seaports, the Florida Ports Council (FPC) has entered into a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the Coordination of Ports and Merchant Marine (Coordinadora de Puertos) of Mexico to maintain relations that promote international commerce and economic development.The Coordination of Ports and Merchant Marine is an agency of the Ministry of Communications and Transportation of Mexico that strengthens the international development of maritime ports, export promotion, international commerce and the internal market.Florida is a leading global trade hub, and Mexico is its second largest trading partner. In 2018, trade between Mexico and Florida reached a staggering $10.8 billion. According to the United States Department of Commerce, this was an 8.3% increase over 2017 in exports alone. With this growth trend, ports of Florida and Mexico have an opportunity to expand ocean carrier services, create more jobs and strengthen both markets. Last summer, the Florida Ports Council and Enterprise Florida, with the support of the Consulate General of Mexico in Miami, led a delegation of representatives from seaports on a trade mission to Mexico City to promote the all-water trade route between Florida and Mexican gulf ports.“The Letter of Intent (LOI) that we are signing today is a direct result of the relationships that were built during the trade mission to Mexico this summer,” said Doug Wheeler, president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council. “While Mexico has been one of Florida’s strongest trading partners for years, there are real opportunities currently for growth in bilateral waterborne trade, and our partners in Mexico are enthusiastic about exploring the benefits and solutions all-water routes can provide.”“Enterprise Florida is thrilled to take part in today’s announcement,” said Jamal Sowell, Florida Secretary of Commerce and EFI President & CEO. “This strategic partnership will develop new trade opportunities to help Florida manufacturers further expand in the Mexican market. EFI will continue to work with our economic development partners across the state to create new opportunities, like the seaport trade mission to Mexico City, so that Florida’s small- and medium-sized businesses can grow internationally and create jobs here at home.”Both signors of the LOI anticipate time and cost savings for their regions by maximizing the efficiencies of all-water trade between the Florida ports and Mexican gulf ports. They further expect more opportunities to promote port development, improve communications and logistics, take advantage of new technologies and strengthen institutional relations that will enhance international commerce and economic development in both Mexico and Florida.The cost and time in relation to cargo imports over the border is promoting a change in the transport of goods from a key trading partner. Juan Kuryla, Chairman of the Florida Ports Council and PortMiami Director, said, “The all-water route from Mexico to Florida ports is the fastest way to move cargo, while saving on transportation and logistics costs.”Jonathan Chait, Consul General of Mexico in Miami, said, “Florida is an important trade partner for Mexico. This LOI brings forth an opportunity to strengthen our economic relationship, serving as a catalyst of job promotion and investment on both sides. Also, geographically Florida is a natural gateway to the southeastern region of Mexico. In terms of social and economic development, this region constitutes a top priority for the Mexican government.”A key joint initiative of the LOI includes the creation of a working group of maritime commerce leaders from Mexico and Florida to review and identify issues, opportunities and challenges of enhancing the flow of international commerce between Mexico and Florida.The working group’s efforts will include: Data analysis Identification of technological and regulatory enhancements Development of infrastructure facilitating sea transport.Juan Kuryla, Chairman of the FPC Board of Directors and PortMiami Director, and Ing. Hector López Gutiérrez, General Coordinator of the Coordination of Ports and Merchant Marine, cosigned the LOI in Miami Florida on November 20, 2019.About the Florida Ports CouncilThe Florida Ports Council is the professional association of Florida’s public seaports, providing advocacy, leadership and research on seaport-related issues before state and federal government. Florida’s ports support nearly 900,000 jobs in the state and contribute $117.6 billion to the state’s economy each year. The Florida Ports Council administers the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council, which is required to provide a 5-year Florida Seaport Mission Plan annually according to Florida Statute. For more information, visit www.flaports.org.
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