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Business Observer Thursday, Jul. 9, 2020 1 year ago

Port receives $813K federal security grant

The grant will allow the port to update and expand its video security and surveillance system as well as make other improvements.

PALMETTO — Port Manatee will receive a federal grant for $813,090 for multiple security-related enhancements.               

The award comes from the Port Security Grant Program of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to a press release. With this latest award, Port Manatee has received more than $13 million in federal grant support for security initiatives since 2005.

The $813,090 federal award for fiscal 2020, to be augmented by a 25% port match of $271,030, is to allow the port to:

  • Update and expand the port’s video security and surveillance system;
  • Replace about 2.5 miles of outdated fencing to bolster security along the port’s north perimeter;
  • Procure and service upgraded radio communications equipment, making it compatible with the recently enhanced Manatee County emergency response system; and
  • Replace the engine of the port’s shallow-water response vessel, which is crucial to enforcement of security zones, including in areas inhabited by seagrasses.

“Port Manatee is grateful to FEMA for the significant grant funding, which over the years has been critical in facilitating leading-edge safety and security throughout port land and neighboring waters,” says Port Manatee Director of Public Safety and Security David St. Pierre in the statement. “The most recent award, for 100% of the amount requested by Port Manatee, will be used to complete four vital endeavors.”             

Port Manatee Executive Director Carlos Buqueras noted in the release that the port’s security needs continue to swell as it accommodates rising cargo volumes. In its fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2019, Port Manatee broke several records, including eclipsing 10 million tons of total cargo throughput for the first time in its 50-year history. 

Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanded Panama Canal. It has 10 40-foot-draft berths serving container, bulk, breakbulk, heavylift, project and general cargo customers.

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