Port Manatee has been awarded $1,425,000 in federal funding to advance three projects to bolster security at the fast-growing Central-Southwest Florida Gulf Coast port.
“Port Manatee greatly appreciates federal support of our efforts to ensure safe, secure and efficient flows of dynamically increasing cargo volumes,” Vanessa Baugh, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority, said today, following notification of the fiscal 2019 Port Security Grant Program award from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.
David St. Pierre, Port Manatee’s director of public safety and security, commented, “Since initial installation of the present port security system in 2010, Port Manatee’s gate activity has tripled, to the current annual pace of 750,000 transactions. These grant monies, along with federal awards in preceding years, allow Port Manatee to stay at the leading edge of port security while accommodating escalating amounts of cargo.”
The latest award of $1,425,000 is to be joined by a 25 percent port match of $475,000 in moving forward three projects totaling $1.9 million in investments.
The largest endeavor is the $1 million expansion of Port Manatee’s south security gate facility into a full-service complex with four configurable lanes and capabilities for handling the full spectrum of registered, temporary and visitor transactions.
Meanwhile, a $750,000 undertaking bodes to complete a comprehensive update of portwide security systems, including modernizing computer software and integrating video and access control technologies into a common operating platform.
In addition, a $150,000 project aims to upgrade Port Manatee’s emergency alarm system.
All projects backed by fiscal 2019 port grants must be completed within three years.
Port Manatee is currently finishing projects supported by prior federal grants totaling nearly $1.7 million. Those efforts include expansion of the port’s north security gate complex.
Located “Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico,” Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanded Panama Canal, with 10 40-foot-draft berths serving container, bulk, breakbulk, heavylift, project and general cargo customers. The port generates more than $2.3 billion in annual economic impact for the local community, while supporting more than 24,000 jobs, without levying ad-valorem taxes.
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