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Port's container trade increases 54.6% in fiscal 2020

Container throughput has more than doubled over the course of two years.

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  • | 10:40 a.m. October 13, 2020
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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PALMETTO — Port Manatee’s containerized cargo trade increased nearly 55% in the just-ended fiscal year.

In the year ended Sept. 30, an all-time-high of 88,466 20-foot-equivalent container units crossed Port Manatee docks, up 54.6% from the preceding 12-month period, when the port saw moves of 57,239 TEUs, according to a press release. That figure was up 49.2% over fiscal 2018, when 38,361 TEUs moved through the port.

“With container throughput more than doubling over the course of just two years, Port Manatee is increasingly fulfilling regional consumer demands for goods ranging from fresh produce to appliances,” says Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee executive director, in the statement. “As our dockside container yard expansion project advances toward mid-2021 completion, Port Manatee is positioning to continue to efficiently handle rapidly growing cargo volumes.”

The container yard expansion will add 9.3 acres to the existing 10-acre paved facility adjoining Port Manatee’s Berth 12 and 14 docks. 

Port Manatee’s container trad, the release states, is being driven by growth of Port Manatee-based World Direct Shipping, which has been importing produce and other goods from Mexico since 2014, and Del Monte Fresh Produce Co., which is in its fourth decade of bringing Latin American fruit to the port.

While the COVID-19 pandemic and related impacts did not slow Port Manatee’s container upsurge, including a 24.9% rise in containerized cargo tons to 668,672, some other cargo sectors were negatively affected in the just-ended fiscal year, the statement says. The port’s total cargo tonnage for fiscal 2020 of 9,327,183 was down 7.5% from the record 10,081,743 tons in fiscal 2019. Liquid bulk tonnage slipped 8.6%, to 5,957,157. Dry bulk tonnage fell 16.7%, to 1,866,383. Led by increased volumes of lumber and scrap metal, Port Manatee’s general cargo throughput was up 9.3%, to 531,019 tons.

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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