Port Manatee set records for container volume and cargo tons moved during its recently completed fiscal year, besting marks set in 2010 for both categories.
During the 2017 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, Port Manatee handled 39,726 20-foot-equivalent container units, which was 31% more than the high mark of 30,431.
Also, the port handled 363,195 containerized tons, a 35% increase from the 268,530 set seven years ago, according to figures released Oct. 10.
Port Manatee executive director Carlos Buqueras credited the boost in container activity to the ongoing transition to containers from breakbulk shipping by longtime tenant Del Monte Fresh Produce for Central American pineapple and banana imports, plus World Direct Shipping’s weekly service that has brought refrigerated produce from Mexico since November 2014.
That, coupled with World Direct Shipping’s announcement last week that it was adding a second weekly sailing from Veracruz, Mexico, starting in January, has Port Manatee officials confident another banner year could be ahead.
“All signs point to another record-breaking year for container activity in fiscal 2018,” Buqueras said in a statement. “These are truly exciting times at Port Manatee.”
Meanwhile, cargo tons moved through Port Manatee reached 7,809,859, up 1% from the prior best of 7,736,724 in fiscal 2010.
Gains for fiscal 2017 also were reported for:
• Dry bulk tons, at 1,326,741, up 64% from 807,351 in fiscal 2016;
• Breakbulk tons, at 548,855, up more than 3% from 530,609;
• Liquid bulk tons, at 5,571,068, up more than 5% from 5,290,549.
“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.