Port Everglades gained its first International Sister Seaport from South America when Port Everglades Director Phil Allen signed an agreement with Jorge Luiz de Mello, President-Director of Docas do Rio (Rio de Janeiro Port Authority).

Brazil ranks as the fifth largest trading partner with Port Everglades, with 215,000 tons of containerized cargo in Fiscal Year 2009 (October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009). Brazil is the number one trading partner with the state of Florida, where Port Everglades handles more containerized trade with Brazil than any other Florida seaport. South Florida's trade with Brazil is more than $11 billion, according to a WorldCity analysis of U.S. Census data.

"Sister Seaports programs are often ceremonial, although we believe that Port Everglades benefits in terms of developing new ideas, business contacts, cultural understanding and international trade promotion," said Allen. "Sister Seaports add a sense of humanity and accessibility to large organizations that are often separated by language and thousands of miles."

To become a Sister Seaport with Port Everglades, a seaport must commit to the free exchange of information pertaining to cruise and cargo operations, statistical information and general market research.

"Trade between Brazil and the United States has more than doubled in the last 10 years, and Port Everglades is becoming an increasingly important player," said Luiz de Mello. Like Port Everglades, the Port of Rio de Janeiro handles cruise ships, containerized cargo, petroleum products and building materials.

Five containerized cargo lines at Port Everglades also serve Docas do Rio, including Compañί­a Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV), Hamburg Süd, Hapag Lloyd, Libra, and Mediterranean Shipping Company. Florida International Terminal and its parent shipping line, CSAV, account for much of the Port's containerized cargo trade with Brazil.

Port Everglades launched its International Sister Seaports program in March 2007 and shortly thereafter signed on two seaports interested in becoming part of Broward County's international family. The Port of Olbia, located on the Italian island of Sardinia and the Port of Xiamen in China were the first official Sister Seaports to Port Everglades. The Port of Marseille, France, became Port Everglades' third Sister Seaport in July 2008. Last year, Port Everglades signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Panama Canal Authority to encourage new business and trade between both organizations.

As one of South Florida's leading economic powerhouses, Port Everglades is the gateway for international trade and cruise vacations. Already one of the busiest cruise ports worldwide, Port Everglades is also one of the nation's leading container ports. And, Port Everglades is South Florida's main seaport for receiving petroleum products, including gasoline, jet fuel and alternative fuels. The Port Everglades Department is a self-supporting Enterprise Fund of Broward County government with operating revenues of approximately $109.7 million in Fiscal Year 2009 (October 1, 2008, through September 30, 2009). It does not rely on local tax dollars for operations. The total value of economic activity at Port Everglades is approximately $14 billion. More than 143,000 Florida jobs are impacted by the Port, including almost 10,000 people who work for companies that provide direct services to Port Everglades.