Mayors from across the county convened in downtown Jacksonville for a three day-conference on ports and exports. As Chair of the Metro Exports and Ports Task Force for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Alvin Brown led several discussions on topics such as global competition for U.S. ports and port modernization.
“I think it has been good for the city to have the mayors come here and talk about an issue that is important not only for Jacksonville, but for cities all across the country,” said Mayor Brown. “It also speaks to the importance of focusing on the importance of ports and exports to put people back to work.”
Mayors, port officials, and city officials from more than 40 cities were represented. Mayors in attendance included Vice Chair of
the Metro Exports and Ports Task Force, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Second Vice President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Scott Smith, Mayor of Mesa, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Mayor Villaraigosa, who is also the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said he was impressed by Mayor Brown’s leadership at the conference.
“We want cities to understand the new markets are abroad. Eight out of ten markets, the growing economies, are not here,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “They are in Asia, Latin America and other places. We have to take our goods, our American made goods, and sell them in those countries. That is going to be a big shot in the arm to our economy and Alvin Brown, your mayor, knows that.”
Paul Anderson, Chief Executive Officer for JAXPORT, said the conference will have a positive impact on Jacksonville and national ports.
“The (U.S. Conference of Mayors) understands the issue of infrastructure and the importance that will play in our country growing in a global marketplace,” said Anderson.
During the meeting, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unveiled a report that said exporting from metro areas has the potential to grow significantly by 2020. In Jacksonville, exports are expected to jump by 68 percent, from the $1.9 billion in market value recorded in 2010 to $3.2 billion projected in 2020.