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Port Manatee breaks container volume records

Florida’s Port Manatee has shattered prior annual records for container volume while also reporting its top year ever for total cargo tons moved in the fiscal year ended September 30, 2017.

The central Florida Gulf port’s count of 39,726 twenty-foot-equivalent container units for the just-ended fiscal year bested by a whopping 52% the 26,210 TEUs that moved through the port in the 12-month period ended Sept 30, 2016, and was 31% more than the prior high mark of 30,431 reported for the fiscal year ended Sept 30, 2010.

Figures reported for containerized tons also broke the previous record, reaching 363,195 in the recently concluded fiscal year, up 39% from 261,094 the preceding year and 35% more than the old record of 268,530 set in fiscal 2010.

Total cargo tons moving through Port Manatee reached 7,809,859, up more than 13% over the 6,889,603 tons in fiscal 2016 and up 1% from the prior best of 7,736,724 tons in fiscal 2010.

“As one of the nation’s fastest-growing container ports, Port Manatee not only is proving to be an integral player in the supply chain, but also is continuing to increase its significant contributions to the economic vitality of our region,” said Vanessa Baugh, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority.

Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee’s executive director, said the big boost in container activity is largely due to the ongoing transition to containers from breakbulk shipping by longtime tenant Del Monte Fresh Produce North America Inc for Central American pineapple and banana imports, plus the success of ocean carrier World Direct Shipping’s weekly service that has brought refrigerated produce from Mexico since November 2014.

“All signs point to another record-breaking year for container activity in fiscal 2018,” said Buqueras. He noted the recent announcement by World Direct Shipping of plans to augment its weekly sailings from Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, with a second weekly service from Tuxpan, Veracruz, beginning in January 2018.

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