World Direct Shipping: Start-up at Port Manatee becoming giant success

To say that the growth of World Direct Shipping has been unconventional is a real understatement. The owners of the company, the Blazer family of Atlanta, are better known as owners of the huge Dekalb Farmers Market in Decatur, Georgia, and the public face of World Direct Shipping in Manatee County, Carlos Diaz, set out to be a professional baseball player.

Even so, World Direct Shipping, based at Port Manatee, has become the fastest growing import container line in the United States, now ranking 29th in size nationally, according to the Journal of Commerce.

World Direct started business at Port Manatee in 2014 with a single vessel making weekly voyages to the Mexican port of Coatzacoalcos, to import agricultural goods into the United States. Since then, World Direct has added two more vessels and extended its service to include Tuxpan, the closest commercial port to Mexico City, as well as Tampico, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

World Direct Shipping’s cargo volume rose 90 percent from 2018 to 2019, with total throughput reaching nearly 50,000 twenty-foot-equivalent container units, according to Diaz. “World Direct Shipping has enjoyed a solid, trusted partnership with Port Manatee from the beginning,” Diaz said. “As our operations have expanded, the port has worked diligently to keep pace with our needs.”

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