Port Manatee sets record for container volume

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Port Manatee, Florida recently set a record for container volume with two months left in the fiscal year.

Between Oct. 1, 2016, and July 31, 2017, the port moved 32,907 twenty-foot-equivalent container units. The previous record was 30,431 units for the fiscal year which ended Sept. 30, 2010.

Container units moved is 47 percent higher than 2016 when 26,210 were moved during the entire fiscal year.

In addition, bulk and general cargo grew 17 percent compared to 2016. So far in 2017, tonnage has totaled 6.4 million tons. Last year, tonnage reached 6.9 million tons. Port officials are confident this fiscal year will surpass last year’s total.

The growth is attributed to extended agreements with World Direct Shipping and Del Monte Fresh Produce.

“We are excited to have already set a new container record for Port Manatee and are further encouraged that this favorable trend is anticipated to be sustained for a long time,” Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee’s executive director, said. “The numbers support that Port Manatee is indeed the fastest-growing container port on Tampa Bay.”

The port generates $2.3 billion annually for the local economy. It is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the Panama Canal.

The port’s growth has a positive impact on wages and the community, Manatee County Port Authority said.