AAPA Seaports Advisory

Planning: Manatee

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Updated master plan sets Port Manatee’s Course for Next 10 Years

A new comprehensive study report projects cargo volume through Port Manatee will more than double over the next 10 years.

The 2016 Port Manatee Master Plan Update, accepted June 16 by the Manatee County Port Authority, provides a strategic vision and framework for continued diverse growth of this Southwest Florida port for the coming decade and beyond.

"We are encouraged by the positive opportunities presented in the master plan update," said Betsy Benac, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority. "Just as the plan was developed with extensive input from a wide range of community interests and stakeholders, we look forward to working synergistically with all parties in advancing initiatives to responsibly grow port operations, generating additional well-paying jobs and reaping further economic benefits for our region."

The report recommends a five-year, $126 million capital improvement and maintenance plan, supported by numerous state and federal funding sources.

Detailing multiple growth scenarios, the report projects cargo tonnage moving through Port Manatee will grow by an average 8.3 percent annually, or a total of 120 percent over 10 years.

Continued dynamic growth is predicted for containerized imports, up 40 percent during the fiscal year that ended March 31.  Additional container carrier service would provide a further boost.

Port Manatee is seen maintaining its role as a hub for supplying Southwest Florida with gasoline, while handling increasing volumes of construction materials to meet to meet regional growth needs. Population of the port’s 20-county hinterland, which attracts more than 60 million visitors annually, is predicted to reach 10 million in 10 years. The report cites potential for exports to a post-embargo Cuba, as well as imports of vehicles.

Betsy Benac, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority, left, looks over the 2016 Port Manatee Master Plan Update with Carlos Buqueras, the port’s executive director.
Photo/Port Manatee



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