Port Manatee has enjoyed the busiest first fiscal half in its nearly 50-year history, shattering several key cargo records for the six-month period ended March 31.
The Central-Southwest Florida Gulf Coast port has achieved new first-half highs for total tonnage throughput and containerized and bulk cargo activity, according to figures released Thursday, April 18 at the regular monthly meeting of the Manatee County Port Authority.
“The sustained vibrant growth of Port Manatee underscores the success of our diverse strategy to boost cargo activity while supporting even more family-wage jobs and further economic gains throughout our region,” said Vanessa Baugh, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority. “As we approach 2020 and the 50-year anniversary of Port Manatee operations, we are clearly on course for continuing record productivity and prosperity.”
Record accomplishments of Port Manatee in its first fiscal half, ended March 31, compared with the first six months of fiscal 2018, include:
- Total short tons, up 14 percent, to 5,132,864;
- Containerized cargo, as measured by 20-foot-equivalents units, or TEUs, up 34 percent, to 25,242;
- Containerized cargo tons, up 36 percent, to 262,143;
- Dry bulk cargo tons, up 32 percent, to 1,216,090; and
- Liquid bulk cargo tons, up 11 percent, to 3,400,539.
Much of the gain in containerized cargo activity is attributable to a more-than-doubling of juice volumes coming into the port in specially fitted container units, imported via Mexico services of Port Manatee-based World Direct Shipping. Also contributing significantly to container volumes is longtime tenant Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc.
On the dry bulk front, volumes of fly ash, salt and cement moving across Port Manatee docks all more than doubled from the year-earlier figures, while liquid bulk gains were propelled by increases in gasoline, bunker fuels, diesel and ethanol, as well as not-from-concentrate juices.
“The broad spectrum of burgeoning activity bears testament to the prolific diversity of Port Manatee’s solid cargo base,” said Port Manatee’s executive director, Carlos Buqueras. “We look forward, in concert with our tenants and users, to enduring successes for years to come.”
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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