Marketing and Public Relations Manager
PALMETTO, Fla. – Signifying Port Manatee’s burgeoning role as a containerized cargo gateway, Port Manatee reports it handled 83 percent more container units in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 than in the preceding 12-month period.
In the just-ended fiscal year, Port Manatee’s docks saw moves of 25,778 twenty-foot-equivalent container units, compared with 14,078 TEUs in the prior 12 months. Containerized imports were up 65 percent, to 15,565 TEUs from 9,416 TEUs, while exports more than doubled, rising 119 percent, to 10,213 TEUs from 4,662 TEUs.
“The upturn is indicative of a very encouraging trend,” said Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee’s executive director. “Port Manatee is on the right track in diversifying its business and generating more jobs for Manatee County.”
Much of the gain is attributable to World Direct Shipping’s weekly service begun in November 2014 between Port Manatee and the Port of Coatzacoalcos, in the southern part of the Mexican state of Veracruz. The service is seeing consistently growing volumes of inbound refrigerated produce, as well as outbound dry cargos.
Longtime Port Manatee tenant Fresh Del Monte Produce has continued to bring a steady stream of containers filled with chilled produce into Port Manatee from Central America while increasing dry cargo exports.
Located “Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico,” Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanding 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.
With containerized cargo volumes on the rise at Port Manatee, the Florida Gulf port’s two mobile harbor cranes are keeping busy, including offloading refrigerated containers from Fresh Del Monte Produce vessels.