Will Smith sings “Welcome to Miami – Bienvenido a Miami” in his song entitled “Miami”, which celebrates the many cultures that the city has to offer. While Miami is a melting pot, it is also a business and financial metropolis and the United States’ second-largest banking mecca, after New York. “Miami is a hub for international companies that are doing business between Latin America, the Caribbean and the USA,” says Gabriel de Godoy, Founder and CEO of the US freight forwarding and logistics service provider, Freight Logistics, which has been part of the Rhenus Group since April 2019. Cuban lifestyle is present everywhere, but particularly in Little Havana – a neighbouring district of downtown Miami. Calle Ocho, its most famous street, is home to a Walk of Fame featuring Cuban celebrities and provides tasty Cuban cuisine, coffee and pastries.
A growing metropolis
Miami’s real estate sector has experienced exponential growth, providing evidence of the city’s dynamism. Brickell, Miami’s financial district, has seen a large number of new, luxury, high-rise apartments as well as a high-end shopping mall (cf. Shopping) after billions of dollars in investments. The city’s infrastructure also expanded with the launch of a new railway system, Brightline, in 2018; it established connections between West Palm Beach and Miami. A new Brightline station is expected to open at the port of Miami in 2020, creating direct links to Orlando. Freight Logistics was founded in 2001, with its headquarters located in Silicon Valley, California; it relocated to Miami five years later. “We were increasing our customer base in Latin America and noticed that Miami was an ideal site for the logistics business. Most flights connecting the US and LATAM depart from there, enabling us to quickly meet our customers’ demands,” de Godoy reports.
Expansion at Miami International Airport
When it moved to Magic City, Freight Logistics added international freight forwarding, customs clearance and domestic transport services to its warehouse and logistics operations. It expanded outside the United States in 2015, opening offices in Argentina, Chile and Brazil. The acquisition by the Rhenus Group allowed the company to upgrade its warehouse to a brand new 200,000 square foot, state-of-the-art building, located right next to Miami International Airport (MIA); this company facility opened in December 2019. It acts as the Americas Regional Headquarters for Rhenus and continues to serve Freight Logistics’ customers, many of which operate in the industrial telecommunications, entertainment electronics, e-commerce and cruise liner logistics sectors. MIA is the largest airport for international freight shipments in the USA, handling 80 percent of all air freight imports and exports between the USA, LATAM and the Caribbean. It is an important pharmaceutical hub and plans to expand even further by 2040. “Miami has such an enormous international volume of trade because the numbers of international flights are growing all the time,”de Godoy confirms.
A port with access to motorways
In addition to the airport, the port of Miami plays an essential role as one of the largest gateways in the US. PortMiami is the only harbour south of Virginia, which is able to handle fully-laden Post-Panamax vessels. More than $1 billion has been invested in infrastructure projects to deepen the port’s channel to 50 feet for oversized ships. PortMiami offers direct access to the Interstate 395 and 95 highways, so that it is possible to transport containers as far as New Jersey without the need for any intermediate stops. It comes as no surprise that the American Chamber of Commerce rated Florida’s infrastructure as the second-best in the USA in 2014. Anybody who does not want to miss the hustle and bustle around PortMiami can easily reach the Bayside marketplace by using the free and driverless Metromover railway. The open-air shopping centre is home to many restaurants and bars that overlook the port and the ships moored there.
Night life: Wynwood and Midtown Miami are Miami’s design districts and are home to galleries, exhibition and Miami’s annual Art Basel. The creative scene has also attracted many clubs and artists.
Tip: 1-800 Lucky in Wynwood is anything but a traditional night club. You can eat in the food hall at the Asian market, sing karaoke, dance or purchase vinyls.
Worth seeing: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, previously known as Villa Vizcaya, were formerly constructed as a family home in Italian Renaissance style and now house a museum with an extensive park and a magnificent orchid garden in the suburb of Coconut Grove.
Tip: How about a boat trip? The 90-minute Miami Duck Tour takes people past South Beach, Biscayne Bay and the Millionaires’ Row district with its mansions. Those who would rather experience unspoiled natural surroundings can take an Airboat through the Everglades.
Shopping: The Brickell City Centre has stores featuring luxury brands and products from eccentric designers at the heart of the financial district.
Tip: One of the most popular meeting points on South Beach is the historical Lincoln Road Mall pedestrian zone. Visitors definitely get their money’s worth here, whether at designer boutiques, with street artists, or in restaurants and cafés.
Eating and drinking: The Versailles Restaurant on Southwest 8th Street serves delicious Cuban cuisine and has a reputation as a meeting point for many Cuban exiles in Miami. “Juvia” combines French, Japanese and Peruvian dishes on its rooftop terrace on Lincoln Road and also provides a spectacular view of Miami Beach.
Tip: Would you like to see stars, glitz and glamour? Even Michael Jordan and Jamie Foxx are believed to have been spotted at the ‘Kiki’s on the River’ Greek restaurant on 450 NW North River Drive. No wonder: its lobster and seafood have made it into Forbes magazine.
Branches: Freight Logistics has had its headquarters in Miami since 2006 and operates its own consolidation centre there. The company, which Rhenus acquired in April 2019, specialises in supply chain solutions, international air and sea freight shipments, customs clearance, compliance, warehousing and distribution operations. Its central office is located near Miami International Airport. Freight Logistics has branches in Chile, Argentina and Brazil as well as a delegation office in Colombia.