As the 55th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show draws to a close Sunday, South Florida continues to lead the nation in the importing and exporting of yachts and other boats.
You may already know that. But there are a few more things you might not know.
The value of South Florida’s imports ($317.10 million) is three times that of the No. 2-ranked Customs district, according to WorldCity analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, and 35.95 percent of the U.S. Customs total.
The value of South Florida’s exports ($323.10 million) is more than twice the value of those shipping out of the No. 2-ranked Customs district and 27.03 percent of the nation’s total.
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Looking at the data will explain why, just three months from now, the Miami International Boat Show will open and then, one month later, the 30th annual Palm Beach International Boat Show will follow suit.
Port Everglades leads the nation in yacht and boat exports and imports among more than 475 airports, seaports and border crossings in the United States.
The Port of Palm Beach ranks second for both exports and imports PortMiami ranks No. 8 for imports and No. 15 for exports.
The level of domination South Florida lords over U.S. yacht trade is most easily explained by the three Ws: weather, water and wealth.
Looking deeper you start to see some distinctions among the three ports.
On the import side, Port Everglades is getting more Italian. This year, for the first time, more than 50 percent of the value of all imports into the Broward County port is from Italy. That is $111.84 million in Italian vessels. They are also getting more French. Also, for the first time this year, France is accounting for more than 10 percent of all Port Everglades imports, a total of $23.99 million. Overall, Port Everglades imports are up 3.06 percent to $213.43 million.
Still on the import side, the Port of Palm Beach also is dominated by Italian boats, with 52.31 percent, or $37.33 million coming from the European nation this year. It’s not a record percentage, however. Two years ago, that percentage was 83.12 percent. The No. 2 market for yachts and other boats clearing Customs at the Port of Palm Beach is the United Kingdom, with 32.76 percent of the total, equal to $23.37 million. So far in 2014, the Port of Palm Beach imports have totaled $71.35 million, an increase of 29.82 percent, with the biggest increases in vessels from Italy and the United Kingdom.
At PortMiami, the No. 1 source for its yachts and other boats this year is the Netherlands, replacing Italy, which had been No. 1 in 2013. For the two years prior to that, China had been the No. 1 importer into PortMiami. The total for 2014 for No. 8-ranked PortMiami is a smaller $30.76 million — but that’s a 46.86 percent increase over the same eight-month time period in 2013.
Switching over to the export side, there are also some interesting distinctions among the three seaports.
At Port Everglades, the top three export markets are Italy, Mexico and Spain. At the Port of Palm Beach, it is Mexico, Spain and Italy — same three, different order. At Port Miami, the top three are Guatemala, St. Maarten and Colombia, followed by Venezuela.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
Port Everglades has exported to 70 nations through the first eight months of 2014, and exports are up 29.12 percent to $161.45 million. This remains well off the record pace of 2008, when the total was $254.10 million.
Quite a few nations have received vessels this year that shipped out of Port Everglades that had not received any at this point in 2013: South Korea, Belgium, China, Cypress, Singapore, Mauritius, Bahrain, Germany, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Tonga, Bolivia, Bermuda and Georgia. The top three, however — Italy, Mexico, Spain — accounted for 52.41 percent of all exports. Exports to those markets are up 57.84 percent, 152.34 percent and 121.76 percent this year, respectively — big numbers.
The Port of Palm Beach has exported to 33 nations this year, and exports are up 50.03 percent to $134.91 million. This is a record pace for the Port of Palm Beach, which did not show significant exports until 2009.
As is the case at Port Everglades, there are a number of nations receiving yachts and boats that had not received any at this point in 2013: the Maldives, South Korea, Panama, France, Guadeloupe and Haiti. The top three — Mexico, Spain, Italy — accounted for 62.66 percent of the value of all exports through the first eight months of 2014. Exports to all three have more than doubled, up 132.20 percent, 168.07 percent, and 105.59 percent this year, when compared to the same period in 2013.
At PortMiami, the overall numbers are far smaller than Everglades or Palm Beach — again, its rank is No. 15 nationally — but the number of nations on the receiving end of vessels is an impressive 87. Overall, exports through August totaled $24.75 million, down 7.41 percent. The record-setting pace in 2008 was $55.97 million through August, more than double the 2014 total.
Nations receiving vessels in 2014 that had not received them at this point in 2013: Algeria, Turkey, Italy, the Seychelles, Morocco, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Tunisia, Romania, Brunei, Bulgaria, Egypt, Kinshasa, Oman, Ukraine, Croatia, Israel, Norway, Jordan, Bahrain, Belarus, Cote d’Ivoire, Spain, Cambodia and Austria. The top three — Guatemala, St. Maarten, Colombia — accounted for only 27.60 percent of the total, far less than the top three at the other two seaports. Because the numbers are smaller, the percentages can be more misleading but are up 506.07 percent, 29.59 percent and 129.72 percent, respectively.
On the export side, the total number of countries receiving vessels from South Florida, and the ones that had not received any at this point in 2013, are important. They are further connections, deepening and widening connections with the global economy.
Ken Roberts is the founder and president of WorldCity, a Coral Gables-based company that pays attention to the impact of globalization on local communities. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leading U.S. ports for yacht imports
Total U.S. imports
of yachts, other boats
Port of Palm Beach
Port of Newark, N.J.
Port Huron, Mich.
Port of Baltimore, Md.
Port of Champlain-Rouses Point, N.Y.
Port of Savannah, Ga.
Port of Alexandria Bay, N.Y.
Port of Los Angeles
Port of Providence, R.I.
Port of Derby Line, Vt.
Source: WorldCity analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data