Port Manatee container volume up 36 percent in first fiscal half
PALMETTO, Fla. - Port Manatee's dynamic growth as a vibrant cargo gateway continues, with the Florida Gulf port reporting a 36 percent year-over-year increase in containerized cargo handled in the first half of its fiscal year.
During the six-month period from Oct. 1, 2015, through March 31, 2016, Port Manatee docks saw moves of 12,653 twenty-foot-equivalent container units, up from 9,321 TEUs in the comparable year-earlier fiscal half. Import TEUs led the way, increasing 40 percent, to 7,398 TEUs from 5,291 TEUs.
The favorable results for the first half of the port's 2016 fiscal year come on the heels of a phenomenal 83 percent rise in TEUs handled in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2015, compared with the preceding fiscal year.
"With World Direct Shipping increasing imports of refrigerated produce in its weekly service from Mexico, as well as consistent inbound shipments by longtime tenant Fresh Del Monte Produce, Port Manatee is extending a positive trend in the container sector," said Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee's executive director. "Furthermore, as we successfully advance our economy-energizing diversification strategy, we are seeing meaningful gains in overall tonnage moving through the port."
In the six-month period from Oct. 1, 2015, through March 31, 2016, Port Manatee handled 3,310,873 tons of cargo, up 5.7 percent from 3,132,705 tons in the comparable year-earlier fiscal half. The increase was propelled by the handling of additional project cargos and substantial gains in the liquid bulk sector, including diesel, gasoline, ethanol and asphalt. The primary contributing factor was the fuel supply agreement inked in late 2015 with RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.
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.
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Indicative of rising containerized cargo volumes, Port Manatee's mobile harbor cranes lift refrigerated containers from a Fresh Del Monte Produce ship.