PALMETTO, Florida – SeaPort Manatee is being launched as the forward-looking identity of the Manatee County Port Authority’s dynamic global trade gateway on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
“Over the course of more than half a century, Manatee County’s seaport has enjoyed vibrant growth and vast diversification, proficiently moving record cargo volumes while significantly enhancing infrastructure,” Reggie Bellamy, chairman of the Manatee County Port Authority, said today [Thursday, Feb. 17] as the new logo for the maritime commerce hub was formally unveiled at the authority’s regular monthly meeting.
“As SeaPort Manatee looks to the coming 50 years and beyond,” Bellamy continued, “we enthusiastically embrace this freshly distinctive identity, befitting the unique nature of our seaport and our business-oriented commitment to connecting worldwide markets with the burgeoning consumer and industrial bases of Southwest and Central Florida.”
The rechristening comes following celebration of all-time-high activity during the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2021, including a record 135,660 twenty-foot-equivalent units of containerized cargo, up 53.3 percent from fiscal 2020 and more than 3 1/2 times the container throughput in fiscal 2018. Total cargo tonnage of 10,451,566 was a record as well, as the seaport’s commodity mix expanded to include recreational boat imports and recycled steel material exports.
Meanwhile, the $13.1 million project to more than double SeaPort Manatee’s dockside container yard to 23.5 acres is nearing completion as a centerpiece of a $74 million capital improvement plan, and an expert consulting team, in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders, is advancing a blueprint for future development on thousands of acres both on and adjacent to SeaPort Manatee’s bayfront facilities.
“When the first cargo shipments began moving through Port Manatee in 1970, few could have imagined the fledgling facility would mature into our region’s preferred global gateway, here at the right turn on Tampa Bay,” said Carlos Buqueras, SeaPort Manatee’s executive director. “As we together move ahead with the ‘super-sizing’ of the seaport, we remain laser-focused on continuing to provide the highly personalized attention to service that has long been the ‘special sauce’ in facilitating the synergistic success of the port and its stakeholders.”
Located “Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico,” SeaPort 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 self-sustaining port generates more than $3.9 billion in annual economic impacts while providing for more than 27,000 direct and indirect jobs, all without benefit of local property tax support.