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Business Florida 2019 - The Regions

Growing the Future

| 10/24/2018

Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay — Florida’s second most populated region and home to such corporate heavyweights as Tech Data, Jabil Circuit, Raymond James and, soon, The Mosaic Company — is on a roll. In 2017, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA was No. 15 on Milken Institute’s “Best Performing Large Cities” list, up 18 points from the previous year. And at No. 16, Tampa is the only Florida metro to make WalletHub’s 2018 list of the top 20 “Best Big Cities to Live In.” In Tampa Bay, companies prosper, connections are seamless, downtowns are alive, educational institutions earn accolades … and the welcome mat is always out.

Tampa Bay has all the elements required of a successful logistics and distribution sector: the state’s largest seaport and its closest deepwater ports to the Panama Canal; a top-rated international airport; superior rail connections; and an extensive interstate highway network that puts 33 million consumers within an eight-hour drive. It’s no wonder, then, that distributors like Gordon Food Services, O’Reilly Auto Services, Amazon, Walmart and Wayfair and third-party logistics providers like Blue Grace Logistics, Integrity Express Logistics, Quality Distribution and Total Quality Logistics have all chosen to site facilities here.

Tampa Bay is just plain easy to get into and out of:

• By Air: Three commercial airports serve this region. Tampa International is the largest, handling 19.6 million passengers and 156.4 million tons of cargo in 2017, and offering 250 flights daily, including nonstops to most major U.S. cities and to London, Zurich, Frankfurt, Panama City, Reykjavik and Amsterdam. Also providing air passenger and cargo service: Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, serving 1.2 million passengers in 2017, and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, which in 2017 surpassed 2 million passengers in a single year.

• By Sea: Port Tampa Bay is Florida’s largest port by physical size (5,000+ acres) and cargo tonnage. It is also among the nation’s most diversified, handling all major cargo categories, including liquid and dry bulk, containers, commodities and automobiles. In FY2017, 38.1 million tons of cargo passed through the port, including 56,555 TEUs of containerized cargo. During the same period, Port Tampa Bay welcomed 226 cruise ships and 960,901 cruise passengers, an 18% increase over the previous year. On the southern edge of Tampa Bay, Port Manatee shattered cargo records, moving 39,276 TEUs in 2017 for a 52% increase over the previous year, and 7.8 million total cargo tons, its best year ever. In 2017, Port Manatee upgraded its 625-foot-long Berth 9 to accommodate loads of up to 1,000 pounds per square foot.

• By Rail: Tampa Bay offers 500 miles of railroad and siding tracks operated by Florida-based CSX, which maintains a major rail yard, intermodal terminal, TRANSFLO terminal and automotive distribution center in Tampa. CSX is also the major player at Florida’s Gateway in Winter Haven. Formerly known as the Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Center, this inland port features wide-span cranes to lift containers off trains and onto trucks and a warehouse available to industrial users needing storage space.

• By Road: Interstate systems I-4, I-75 and I-275 directly link Tampa Bay to Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Pensacola and all points in between and beyond. A new truck ramp from Port Tampa Bay leads directly to and from I-4, which connects to I-75 less than 10 miles away.

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