Skip to main content
Business Observer Friday, Sep. 17, 2021 1 year ago

Port Manatee to receive over $1M in grant funding for security enhancements

The funding is being allocated from the U.S. Department of Homeland with a portion being supplemented through a port match.

PALMETTO — Port Manatee is set to receive more than $1 million in federal grant funding. 

The funding will be used to bolster protection against cyberthreats, upgrade the port’s wireless security network and complete a perimeter fencing project. 

The port will be allocated $1,055,843 under the Port Security Grant Program of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency. With this funding, the port has received more than $14 million in federal security grant support since 2005, according to a statement. 

“Port Manatee is extremely thankful for the continuing support of FEMA in advancing our mission of providing leading-edge safety and security throughout port property and neighboring waters,” says David St. Pierre, Port Manatee’s director of public safety and security, in a press release. “In light of the worldwide increase in cyberattacks, we are particularly grateful to be able to furnish greater protection against such dangers.”

The funding was supplemented by a port match of $351,947 to cover 25% of the total cost. According to the release, Port Manatee will use the funding for three advancements, including:

• Comprehensive cybersecurity risk assessment and mitigation measures to ensure integrity of the port’s computer systems, fortifying them against potential attack.
• Enhancements to the port’s wireless security network, including cameras and access control infrastructure.
• Completion of a project to provide 3 1/2 miles of fencing along the perimeter of port property.

“As Port Manatee handles record levels of cargo activity, it is imperative that we stay at the forefront of safety and security,” says Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee’s executive director, in the release. “We are highly appreciative of the ongoing federal support we receive to protect critical infrastructure and, moreover, the people who keep commerce on the move.”

Port Manatee features 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.

“In fulfilling its role as Central and Southwest Florida’s preferred gateway for global commerce, Port Manatee must provide a safe and secure operational environment,” says Reggie Bellamy, chairman of the Manatee County Port Authority. “We are most grateful to the federal government for its vital partnership in facilitating our ability to do so.”

Related Stories