July 23 - The value of Port Manatee's trade totalled USD257.57 million for the first four months of 2014, up 17.15 percent compared with the same period in 2013.

Export volumes increased by 25.68 percent, while imports rose 14.34 percent.

Port Manatee is set to get a further boost in volumes when Air Products begins exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) heat exchangers from the port next year.

"In fact," said the port's executive director, Carlos Buqueras, "we expect to be the fastest-growing export port in Florida."

The port is taking steps to ensure that it is ready to cope with burgeoning volumes. At its South Port property, Port Manatee says that a ro-ro terminal and vehicle-processing facility are currently targeted for development.