News & Updates

SEAPORT SPOTLIGHT: Which Port is One of Florida’s Largest and Fastest-Growing Deepwater Seaports?

SeaPort Manatee is one of Florida’s largest and fastest-growing deepwater seaports, handling a diverse array of bulk, breakbulk, containerized, and heavy-lift project cargos.

Located at the entrance to Tampa Bay, SeaPort Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater cargo seaport to the expanded Panama Canal and boasts fast transit times to Mexico and Latin America. In addition to direct access to the United States highway system, SeaPort Manatee is conveniently linked to CSX Railroad’s Class I mainline with daily rail service to the eastern half of the United States. As Southwest Florida’s primary seaport, SeaPort Manatee serves more than eight million residents within a two-hour drive and a majority of Florida’s 120 million visitors within a three-hour drive, including the distribution-center-filled Tampa/Lakeland/Orlando Interstate 4 corridor.

SeaPort Manatee plays a key role in fueling Southwest Florida’s economy, serving as a gateway for more than 400 million gallons a year of gasoline and related fuels that are distributed to 11 Florida counties. In addition, SeaPort Manatee is critical for the region’s construction industry, each year facilitating the movement of more than 472,000 tons of lumber products and 2.2 million tons of dry bulk cargo, mainly used for road building and construction projects.

As the preferred global gateway for beneficial cargo owners, manufacturers and farmers, SeaPort Manatee focuses on investing in U.S. seaport infrastructure to meet the demand of American supply chains. Based on the merit of the SeaPort’s infrastructure plans, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded SeaPort Manatee an $11.95 million federal grant in September 2022 for the expansion of Southwest Florida’s primary shipping container yard. The expanded yard will have enough capacity to safely and efficiently handle more than 350,000 shipping containers (TEUs) annually.

On the waterside, SeaPort Manatee is modernizing Berth 4 docking facilities to add berthing capacity and plans to update four of its berths as well as build three new ones over the next 20 years. In addition, the port is working with logistics providers to explore and develop cruise, bulk storage, and warehouse facilities.

SeaPort Manatee is one of Manatee County’s leading economic engines, continuously focused on developing commerce and the creation of jobs. Logistics providers and beneficial cargo owners are increasingly drawn to the port and surrounding land, offering hundreds of new maritime and related industrial sector jobs. The port generates more than $5.1 billions in annual economic impact while supporting more than 37,000 jobs, all without the benefit of local property tax support.