SeaPort Manatee appears to be on track to set a new total cargo record, surpassing the record of 10,451,566 tonnes set in fiscal year 2021.
It saw a 32% increase in containerized cargo tonnage in the six months to March 31 compared to the same period last year.
The port’s growth has come despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with imports of timber, fresh fruit, fuel and more unimpeded.
SeaPort officials have expanded their facilities to encourage and accommodate growth. Unlike some other ports, there were enough 18 wheels available to keep cargo moving once it arrived at SeaPort Manatee.
“SeaPort Manatee’s continued growth in all areas of the cargo business demonstrates its continued ability to appropriately meet consumer and industry needs in Central and Southwest Florida and beyond. “said Carlos Buqueras, executive director, in a press release.
“With the completion of the dockside container yard facility expansion and other infrastructure improvements, as well as thousands of acres on and near the port available for future growth, SeaPort Manatee is perfectly ready to continue moving even more commerce,” Buqueras said.
In the first six months of the fiscal year, SeaPort Manatee handled a record 660,847 short tons of containerized cargo, an increase of 32.2% over the first half of fiscal 2021.
The SeaPort also set a record for 20ft equivalent container units, with 85,383 moving through SeaPort Manatee’s docks, a 26% increase over the previous year.
The increase was aided by volume growth from the port’s two main container cargo carriers – World Direct Shipping, based in SeaPort Manatee, and Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc, headquartered in Coral Gables.
WDS, in its ninth year of importing products and other goods from Mexico, expanded its service offerings across the Gulf, while the Del Monte unit deployed eco-friendly container ships to transport fruit from Latin America to the Southeast distribution center it has operated at the port for 33 years.
World Direct started operations in Port Manatee in 2014 with a single ship making weekly trips to the Mexican port of Coatzacoalcos, to import agricultural products to the United States.
In 2021, World Direct Shipping expanded its weekly services across the Gulf of Mexico by deploying a third company-owned vessel and adding a fourth Mexican port of call, Progresso, located on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Other records set by SeaPort Manatee during the six month period include:
▪ Total freight tonnage of 5,365,359, up 10.4% from the previous year.
▪ Non-containerized bulk tonnage of 351,878, up 34.4% with strong volumes of wood pulp (much of which is used in the manufacture of toilet paper), lumber, plywood and other forest products, as well as recycled aluminum and steel materials.
▪ Dry bulk tonnage of 1,230,124, up 13%, with big gains in granite and dry phosphate rock movements.
▪ Liquid bulk tonnage of 3,122,510, up 3.8%.
SeaPort Manatee’s strong fiscal first-half ratings follow numerous full-year records set in the 12-month period ended September 30, 2021.
“The outstanding business gains underway at SeaPort Manatee are a testament to our ability to provide state-of-the-art facilities for the efficient movement of a wide range of vital goods,” Reggie Bellamy, chairman of the Manatee County Port Authority, said in a statement. the press release.
“Meanwhile, a team of expert consultants, together with a wide range of stakeholders, are working to develop a plan for future growth and even greater contributions to the economy of our region,” said Bellamy said.