Palm Beach County's strategic location is ideal for international commerce, since it is located between Miami and Orlando and within easy reach of all of the major air and sea ports in the state of Florida. Palm Beach County is part of the Miami Customs District, which has been utilized by much of Latin America and the Caribbean as the first destination for goods to be distributed to the rest of the United States and Europe and vice versa. Increasingly, many Asian firms are also using the Miami Customs District to ship goods for similar purposes, with China becoming one of the region's top five trading partners. In 2010, the volume of trade conducted in U.S. Customs District 52 amounted to $95 billion. In 2010, the Miami Customs District maintained its standing as the 11th largest U.S. Customs District, and it set a new national record for a trade surplus of $22.18 billion (World City Magazine).
Palm Beach County has a state-of-the-art transportation and logistics system that is comprised of an international airport (Palm Beach International) with an integral Federal Inspection Facility, and a seaport with a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ #135). These ports have easy access to the Florida Turnpike and Interstate 95, along with two major railways (FEC and CSX). Furthermore, the Port of Palm Beach District and the State of Florida are investigating the feasibility of developing an inland intermodal logistics center (inland port) close to Lake Okeechobee to expand and enhance South Florida's transportation and logistics industry and to increase the region’s and Florida's competitiveness in international trade and processing.
Whether by land, water, air, or rail, Palm Beach County boasts an efficient, integrated transportation system, from a major international airport and three commercial/executive airports to an expanding port that ranks among the state's finest.
Port of Palm Beach
With easy access to the Florida Turnpike and Interstate 95, along with two major railways (FEC and CSX), the Port of Palm Beach is primed for business. The Port of Palm Beach is the fourth-busiest container port of Florida’s 14 deepwater ports, and is the 18th-busiest container port in the United States. In fiscal year 2010, the port moved over 213,000 20-foot container units.
The Bahamas Celebration cruise ship is based at the port. Sailing every other day for the Bahamas, it brings 275,000 passengers to the port, an additional and significant economic impact for Palm Beach County. The port also handles diesel fuel, molasses, liquid asphalt, and other bulk commodities. There is also substantial tonnage involved in the movement of heavy lift and project cargos. All of this happens in a port that occupies only 156 acres of land.
Unlike most ports in the United States, the Port of Palm Beach handles exports as well, with approximately 80% of its cargo exported, creating a subsequent improvement in the balance of trade. The majority of the exported cargo goes toward supporting the island nations of the Caribbean. The Port of Palm Beach supplies 60% of everything consumed in the Bahamas and is the essential lifeline to the rest of the Caribbean.
The almost 900,000 tons of raw sugar produced in the Glades area of the county is shipped through the Port of Palm Beach – 100% of it.
The Port of Palm Beach and its tenants combine to become one of the largest employers in Palm Beach County, and is an economic engine for the County. Approximately 2,400 people are employed directly and indirectly because of the Port, which contributes $260 million in business revenue and $12 million in State and Federal taxes. Over $7 billion worth of commodities moves through the Port each year.
The Port of Palm Beach is the only South Florida port facility operating its own rail system with pier-side rail box, hopper, and intermodal cars operating 24 hours a day. The Port has three slips, four marginal wharves, and two ro/ro ramps for a total of 5,200 linear feet of berthing space. A Foreign Trade Zone at the Port has been in operation since 1987, encompassing several Port-owned sites, one sub-zone in Boca Raton and, in the near future, all five zones in the county as well as several high-tech sites in Martin County. Activated areas include the cargo handling bays of the Port’s old cruise terminal, as well as the entire facility of the Port of Palm Beach Cold Storage facility (POPBCS), which operates a 100,000-square-foot facility.
A Foreign Trade Zone at the Port has been in operation since 1987, encompassing several Port-owned sites, one sub-zone in Boca Raton and in the near future, all five zones in the county as well as several high-tech sites in Martin County. Activated areas will include the cargo handling bays of the Port's cruise terminal, as well as the entire facility of the Port of Palm Beach Cold Storage facility (POPBCS), which operates a 100,000-square-foot facility. With the new skypass (the U.S. Highway One bridge over port property), the POPBCS is the largest such facility in South Florida.
Palm Beach International Airport, centrally located in West Palm Beach, is one of the largest medium-hub airports in the United States. PBIA has a state of the art terminal building dedicated as a truly superb example of a user friendly, congestion free, modern airport.
The 560,000 square foot terminal includes a concession mall which runs the length of the building. Other features include three passenger concourses and holding areas. A beautifully landscaped roadway system leads to separate levels at the terminal for arriving and departing passengers.
Palm Beach International Airport is conveniently located to serve the air trade area of Palm Beach County and the four surrounding counties. The airport is located 2.5 miles west of downtown West Palm Beach and just 3.5 miles west of Palm Beach. PBIA is situated adjacent to I-95 and is accessible from anywhere in Palm Beach County. Boca Raton is approximately 20 miles south and Jupiter is only 15 miles north.
Palm Beach international Airport has 1,100 short term parking spaces, 5,500 long term spaces and over 3,000 Park and Ride spaces. A major feature is the Customs and Immigration facility which is capable of handling 300 passengers per hour and aircraft up to the size of B747-400, private aircraft maintenance, air cargo and international air. Twenty airlines currently offer scheduled flights from PBIA to destinations throughout the continental United States, and direct international flights are available to the Bahamas and Canada.
On average, more than 6 million people a year pass through PBIA. Commercial airlines, including commuter aircraft, fly in and out of the airport about 70,000 times a year. General aviation, freight and other flights average nearly 113,500 a year, Approximately 19,000 tons of cargo pass through PBIA annually.
Palm Beach County also offers three local commercial/executive airports:
- Glades Airport is Palm Beach County’s designated recreational airport, located three miles southwest of Pahokee and 35 miles west of West Palm Beach. It is popular for flight training for both fixed wing and helicopters. Glades Airport is also designated to support FAR 105 Parachute Operation.
- Palm Beach County Park Airport (LNA) is located in Lantana and is six miles south of PBIA. LNA is a reliever airport focusing on the general aviation reciprocating and turbine driven aircraft. LNA is a busy airport with a mix of both fixed-wing and helicopters, and six runways.
- North County General Aviation Airport (F45) is set on 1,832 acres, with over 1,100 being dedicated to environmental preserves that surround the airport. It is a designated reliever for PBIA and serves both reciprocating engine and jet aircraft.
Where can you get more information?
Business Development Board of Palm Beach County
310 Evernia Street, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Kelly Smallridge, President and CEO
Gary Hines, Senior Vice President, Administration
Brian Cartland, Vice President – Business Recruitment
Shawn Rowan, Vice President – Business Retention and Expansion