Local business leaders say they are casting a wide net for new customers, working to haul in some big fish: foreign partners ready to purchase American goods shipped out of Tampa. The Tampa metro region is already exporting enough merchandise to be named among the top 50 exporting areas in the nation, according to the International Trade Administration, which issued a brief on exporting this month. Despite its high ranking nationally, though, exports from the Tampa area in the past five years have remained somewhat flat, hovering around $6.5 billion, with a high of $7.7 billion in 2011, according to the Tampa Bay Partnership. The partnership is an organization working to market this region nationally and internationally for economic growth.
Business leaders admit it’s a tough arena to grow, requiring a lot of ground work. And there is stiff competition right here in Florida. Although the Tampa- St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area exported $6.7 billion in merchandise in 2013, the Miami area exported $41.8 billion in goods. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said he’d like to see those numbers shift a bit, to Tampa’s advantage.
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As operating costs such as driver pay rise and federal regulations cut into productivity, hundreds of trucking companies are shutting their doors each quarter. Although most of these companies are small, collectively they are as large as a multi-billion-dollar motor carrier.
In the first quarter of 2014, for instance, 390 carriers with 10,650 tractors shut down, according to Avondale Partners, which has tracked trucking bankruptcies since 1990. In the 2013 fourth quarter, 335 carriers with 7,775 trucks went broke. Their combined fleet was bigger than that of Werner Enterprises, the third-largest U.S. truckload carrier, which operates 7,035 tractors.
Most of the trucking companies that fail are anonymous truckload operators, getting little or no mention in the media outside, perhaps, local newspapers. That’s because most carriers operate fewer than 10 trucks.
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The national average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel hit its lowest point since July 2012 last week, as it fell seven-tenths of a cent to $3.814, according to the Department of Energy.
Diesel fell for the ninth consecutive week in the week ended Sept. 1, and it’s down 16.7 cents from the same week in 2013.
The average price of diesel fell in all regions in the U.S. too, save for the West Coast region and the West Coast less California region, which saw 2-cent and 5.2-cent spikes, respectively.
The Lower Atlantic region led all price decreases with a 1.5-cent drop, followed by the East Coast’s 1.3-cent decline and the Gulf Coast’s 1.2-cent drop.
California again had the country’s most expensive diesel, $4.079, followed by the West Coast’s $4.030. Averages in all other regions were below $4.
The Gulf Coast region had the country’s cheapest diesel, $3.720, followed by the Midwest’s $3.752 and the Lower Atlantics $3.756.
Update provided by: overdriveonline.com