Port Manatee dedicates rebuilt Berth 9
PALMETTO, Florida - Port Manatee's Berth 9 is now able to accommodate heavier loads thanks to completion of a reconstruction project in concert with the Florida Department of Transportation.
At a dedication ceremony Thursday [June 15], officials cut a ribbon signaling the formal opening of the fortified 625-foot-long berth, which can now handle uniform loads of as many as 1,000 pounds per square foot.
"FDOT very much values its partnership with Port Manatee," said Paul Simmons, modal development administrator for FDOT's District 1, noting that FDOT funded three-quarters of the project's $10.3 million cost. "We share the same goals, and we look forward to continued growth and prosperity for this region and our district."
Vanessa Baugh, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority, pointed out that Manatee County already has benefited from the endeavor, as it created 250 construction-related jobs.
"Not only will the enhanced Berth 9 facilitate increased activity at Port Manatee in the long term," Baugh said, "but it has already had a significant jobs-related impact."
Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee's executive director, said, "We appreciate the productive partnership with FDOT in bringing this project to fruition. We are united in the belief that the renovated Berth 9 will reap benefits for Florida for years to come."
State Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, commented, "With this reconstructed berth in place, we anticipate additional growth in Port Manatee's business and further advancement of the port's role as a huge economic driver for Manatee County."
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.
Taking part in the June 15 ribbon-cutting for Port Manatee's reconstructed Berth 9 are, from left: State Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton; Gary Tibbetts, special assistant to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Florida; Betsy Benac, member, Manatee County Port Authority; Charles B. Smith, second vice chairman, Manatee County Port Authority; Vanessa Baugh, chairwoman, Manatee County Port Authority; Carlos Buqueras, executive director, Port Manatee; Stephen R. Jonsson, third vice chairman, Manatee County Port Authority; Robin DiSabatino, member, Manatee County Port Authority; Carol Whitmore, member, Manatee County Port Authority; and Priscilla Whisenant Trace, first vice chairwoman, Manatee County Port Authority.