Trade expansion is occurring thanks not only to the expansion of the Port of Tampa, but also to President Obama's National Export Initiative (NEI) that helps farmers and small businesses increase their exports and expand their markets.
One new business taking advantage of the NEI
is Tampa-based Nigerian exporting company, Osibodu & Associates Exporting USA, LLC. Launched by Josiah Osibodu, a Nigerian-U.S. citizen, Osibodu & Associates
specializes in exporting construction products and agricultural fertilizers to Nigeria to help the country's growing demand for infrastructure development.
"Our goal is to create volume," says Osibodu. "And from the volume, help domestic manufacturers sell their products outside of the U.S. and also to bring some foreign dollars into the Tampa area."
With help from Greg Lovelace, one of the Port's marketing directors, and Zim Integrated Shipping Services
, Osibodu & Associates' first shipment left the Port of Tampa for numerous ports in Nigeria on July 14. The shipment carried one container of transportation equipment that was purchased by Lymfad Limited
, a construction firm in Nigeria.
"It has definitely given us a lot of publicity," says Osibodu. "It's good to keep the publicity up because the key business model is to help Florida manufacturers create an alternative market for their products."
He says that a lot of manufacturers that he has spoken with only ship within the United States. Creating an alternative overseas market would help boost their sales.
Osibodu recently traveled to Nigeria to meet with prospective customers and government officials who will help facilitate transactions within the country.
"It was a very successful trip," says Osibodu. "We identified many different demands that we are now trying to source. We're also forming some strategic partnerships with some of the companies in Nigeria that handle not just construction material, but also agricultural fertilizer and other agricultural products."
Osibodu explained that Nigeria has a very high demand for fertilizer due to its large agricultural industry, which works to feed its population of more than 150 million. Since Tampa's port is the largest in Florida and one of its biggest exports is fertilizer, Osibodu decided that Tampa was the place to start his company.Matthew Wiley is a freelance journalist and University of South Florida grad residing alongside the Hillsborough River in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa. He spends his free time skateboarding around Tampa Bay and pondering the next step in his journalism career. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.