Metro Trade Data Report: Tampa, Florida. Top Exporters & Top Importers

Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater MSA Profile

Tampa is a large city located next to Florida’s Tampa Bay. Tampa’s Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is a combination of Tampa, St.Petersburg, and Clearwater. Tampa Bay was ranked as the 5th best outdoor city by Forbes in 2008 and 12th of the 20 best places to live and work in America by The Census Bureau estimated the MSA’s 2010 population as 4.2 million with around 70,000 new people arriving per year. 66,000 of these newcomers are immigrants, making Tampa MSA a U.S. hot spot for immigration. Tampa is the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, The University of South Florida, and MacDill Air Force Base. Between the heavy military presence and the universities, there are strong research capabilities.

Tampa Bay’s history of manufacturing for the defense industry has created a highly skilled workforce, who are now employed in other industries like medical manufacturing. The bay itself is very shallow, less than 30 feet in many spots, which requires almost constant dredging to allow shipping.

The Port of Tampa is the largest port in Florida by tonnage and one of the busiest commercial ports in North America consisting of over 5000 acres. According to the Port of Tampa’s website, it has the economic impact of 8 billion dollars and 100,000 jobs. According to Brookings, Tampa’s MSA has an annual export of 7.9 billion which supports 74,000 jobs. Thus, between the two reports, one can understand the large amount of jobs created by waterborne imports and exports from the Port of Tampa.

Tampa’s MSA Top Importers

With PIERS Prospects we can look at a list of top importing and exporting companies in Tampa’s MSA. Prospects is based mainly on waterborne data, so it does not encompass all import and export data, but it supplies a picture and leads. Helm Fertilizer Corporation is the top waterborne importer, spending 500 million dollars on foreign goods. This number is from a 12 month range. Jabil, the electronic product company which has over 100,000 employees world-wide, is one of the largest importers in the region with around 154 million dollars worth imported in a 12 month span. Jabil is headquartered in Tampa’s MSA. Here is a list of the ten top importing companies bringing foreign goods into Tampa’s MSA.

Tampa’s MSA Top Exporters

The Tampa MSA is prime location for some heavy United States exports. In 2009 the top export destination was the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). This trend was followed in 2010. The second largest destination of exports goes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). With PIERS Prospects we can view the individual companies exporting United States goods by company.

The top exporter is Dow Chemical Company with 2.5 billion dollars worth of exports. Gerdau, a Brazilian world leader in steel, who has its U.S. corporate headquarters in Tampa’s MSA, has an estimated 620 million dollars of exported material in the 12 month window. Because of the presence of international corporations, it becomes difficult to delineate true United States exports. Gerdau, for example is a Brazilian corporation. So the question must be asked, what do we label Gerdau’s exports? The classification of these variables can have a tremendous impact on import and export data. As it is now, Gerdau’s exports from the States are considered exports from the United States.  Included below is the Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater MSA’s top export companies as well as its top export destinations.


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