Business is booming at the Port of Tampa - WFLA News Channel 8

Business is booming at the Port of Tampa

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The Vigo Importing Company has been bringing exotic products to Tampa for years. The warehouse facility off of Hillsborough Avenue is filled with all kinds of delicious things to eat.

"We bring in olive oil, pasta, tomatoes. All kinds of products from six of the seven continents," said Vigo's CEO, Sam Ciccarello.

The products are sold in stores all over the country, but many of them start their journey in Tampa at the Port of Tampa. Ciccarello said the port's growing container shipping business has helped Vigo save money.

"The product doesn't have to go over the road. The container can be loaded with more merchandise," he said. "There's some money savings, so it works out very well for Vigo."

That business relationship made Vigo the perfect place for the Port of Tampa to make a big announcement. Port CEO Paul Anderson released the findings of an economic impact study, Monday.

"Every aspect of our lives is touched in this community, throughout the Tampa Bay region, and it is truly the economic foundation of this community," Anderson told the crowd gathered for the results.

The study, done by Martin Associates, found that the Port of Tampa generates $15.1 billion dollars in economic activity every year. That's up substantially from the last study in 2006, which found the economic impact to be just $8 billion. In addition, port activity sustains more than 80,000 jobs, either directly or indirectly.

Anderson said the Port of Tampa is Florida's largest and most diversified seaport. It has cargo, cruise and shipyard activity.

Hillsborough County Commissioner and Port Authority board member Sandy Murman is happy to see the Port's success.

"It's about jobs. It's about development," she said. "It's what people want. It's what tax payers want."

Anderson expects container shipping and the cruise industry to be growth areas in the future.

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