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JAX Chamber, JAXPORT, JAA support Florida World Trade Month

May 4, 2012

The JAX Chamber, Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) and Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) joined a statewide effort to highlight the importance of international trade as a powerful driver of economic growth in the Northeast Florida region and state of Florida. May is Florida World Trade Month. Numerous organizations including Enterprise Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and ports throughout the state are working together to raise awareness of Florida’s critical role in the global economy.
Florida currently ranks fourth in the nation for international trade and commerce. As a result of major developments occurring at airports and seaports throughout the state, Florida is fast becoming the Southeast U.S. hub for international imports and export cargo.
“It is appropriate during Florida World Trade month to point out that all of us in Florida are now focused on maximizing the international trade opportunities at hand,” said JAXPORT CEO Paul Anderson. “It’s going to take vision and investment, but the returns to the state in employment and positive economic impact are incredible and are all within our reach.”
JAXPORT generates more than $19 billion in annual economic impact and currently generates 65,000 jobs in the North Florida region.  JAXPORT’s Talleyrand, Blount Island and Dames Point Marine Terminals handled more than 8 million tons of cargo in 2011. In the same year, Jacksonville became the largest container port in Florida and maintained its spot as the nation’s number one vehicle export port. JAXPORT is located within an eight-hour drive of more than 65 percent of the U.S. consumer market.
“Jacksonville International Airport is an exceptional gateway to our region for international business and leisure travelers,” said JAA executive director and CEO Steve Grossman. “While we now have international charter flights, we see the potential for regularly scheduled international flights as Northeast Florida continues to grow.”
The success of JetBlue’s recently launched direct service from Jacksonville to San Juan, Puerto is one encouraging development, which could lead to additional air service throughout the Caribbean.
“The JAX Region has become one of the nation’s foremost locations for logistics companies and is poised to become a leading international center for trade and logistics,” said JAX Chamber International Committee Chair Fredrik Eliasson, who is executive vice president & chief financial officer at CSX Corporation. “Our continued economic success relies on infrastructure investments that will enable us to welcome new international trade opportunities and thousands of high-wage jobs.”
In order to reach its full potential, JAXPORT’s infrastructure needs include repairing the Mile Point navigational hazard, deepening the channel and developing additional on-dock rail and continuing to improve existing terminal docks and equipment in order to handle an expected doubling of cargo during the next 20 years.
Florida World Trade Month 2012 runs through May 31. The honorary chair is Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope.  Visit floridaworldtrademonth.com to learn more.

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