A 2016 Port Manatee Master Plan Update, recently accepted by the Manatee County Port Authority, provides a strategic vision and framework for continued diverse growth of the Port of Southwest Florida for the coming decade, with the new study report projecting cargo volumes through Port Manatee to more than double over the next 10 years.
Betsy Benac, Chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority, said: “We are encouraged by the positive opportunities presented in the master plan update.
“Just as the plan was developed with extensive input from a wide range of community interests and stakeholders, we look forward to working synergistically with all parties in advancing initiatives to responsibly grow port operations, generating additional well-paying jobs and reaping further economic benefits for our region.”
The report recommends a five-year, US$126 million capital improvement and maintenance plan, supported by numerous state and federal funding sources.
The report details multiple growth scenarios and projects cargo tonnage moving through Port Manatee to increase at an average pace of 8.3% per year for a total gain of 120% over the course of the coming 10 years.
Containerised cargo imports – up 40% year-over-year for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016 – are anticipated to continue dynamic growth, with a further boost if the port attracts additional container carrier service.
The plan update was developed over the past 11 months by an independent team of consultants led by AECOM Technical Services Inc., in accordance with state mandates for all Florida seaports.
Fact File: Located “Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico”, Port Manatee is the closest US deepwater seaport to the expanding Panama Canal, with ten 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.