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For the first time, the Florida Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association (FCBF) held an official group meeting in Jacksonville. The Doral, Florida-based group is the most influential and active representative body of the Florida freight forwarding and customs brokerage community.
“We’re excited to be here and collaborate with as many industry partners as we can to grow opportunities for trade here in Jacksonville and throughout the state of Florida,” said FCBF President Gabriel Rodriguez.
During the meeting which took place at JAXPORT, the group examined hot topics in trade, including duty drawback, tariffs, and strategies for trade and business success in today’s economic conditions. Following the meeting, group members toured JAXPORT, Florida’s largest container port and one of the nation’s busiest vehicle-handling ports.
One of FCBF’s missions is to foster communication between the trade community and federal agencies in order to expand Florida’s trading communities at the local, state, and national levels. During the visit, many FCBF members made note of Jacksonville’s strategic location and connectivity.
“Jacksonville offers some interesting intermodal options, you can put cargo on rail and reach much of the country,” Rodriguez said. “The East Coast has about 60 percent of the purchasing power for the U.S., so cargo moving into Florida is a natural segue for this population.”
The group also learned about the status of the federal project to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel to 47 feet, which is two years ahead of schedule with anticipated completion in 2023.
“Deepening will allow larger volumes on the ships already calling Jacksonville, and attract larger carriers to the area,” Rodriguez said. “With Jacksonville being such a central point for distribution, it’s a win-win.”
During their time in Jacksonville, FCBF leadership also met with trade and business development groups, including U.S. Commercial Service, Enterprise Florida and JAX Chamber.