Senior Communications Manager
PALMETTO, Fla. – Port Manatee is seen playing a critical role in the economic growth of Manatee and Sarasota counties.
The importance of the port and regional transportation infrastructure to the regional economy was a key theme of the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization Freight and Economic Development Summit, hosted Monday [Oct. 24] at the Port Manatee Intermodal Center.
“The continuing diverse advancement of Port Manatee is crucial to the economic well-being of our region,” said Betsy Benac, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority and a Sarasota/Manatee MPO board member. “Port Manatee is privileged to work with the MPO and the full spectrum of stakeholders in ensuring the port’s ongoing contributions to our community and beyond.”
Port Manatee already 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.
Also speaking during the afternoon gathering were senior staff members of Port Manatee and officials of the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Trucking Association and economic development agencies, as well as executives of several companies with local interests, including Tropicana Products Inc., Bealls Inc. and The Mosaic Company.
Panel discussions covered such topics as economic development, agriculture, industry and tourism.
The summit is part of Sarasota/Manatee MPO efforts to identify transportation priorities and performance measures to support freight, economic development and tourism.
Located “Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico,” Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanded Panama Canal and Cuba’s Port of Mariel, with 10 40-foot-draft berths serving container, bulk, breakbulk, heavylift, project and general cargo customers