SeaPort Manatee on Track for Record Year

DelMonte ship at Port Manatee
The increase was facilitated by volume growth for Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. (SeaPort Manatee)

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PALMETTO, Fla. — SeaPort Manatee appears to be on track to set a record in total cargo, surpassing its high mark of nearly 10.5 million tons set in fiscal 2021.

It saw a 32% surge in containerized cargo tonnage in the six months ending March 31 over the same period last year.

The port’s growth has been in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, with imports including wood, fresh fruit and fuel moving unimpeded.

SeaPort officials have expanded facilities to encourage and accommodate growth. Unlike some other ports, enough 18-wheelers have been available to keep the cargo moving once it arrives at SeaPort Manatee.

“SeaPort Manatee’s sustained growth in all sectors of cargo activity demonstrates continuing ability to adeptly meet the needs of consumers and industry throughout central and southwest Florida and beyond,” Executive Director Carlos Buqueras said in a statement.

“With completion of expansion of dockside container yard facilities and other infrastructure enhancements, as well as thousands of on- and near-port acres available for future growth, SeaPort Manatee is perfectly poised to keep moving even more commerce,” Buqueras said.

During the first six months of the fiscal year, SeaPort Manatee handled a record 660,847 tons of containerized cargo, an increase of 32.2% from the first half of fiscal 2021.

Aerial view by SeaPort Manatee.

The SeaPort also set a record for 20-foot-equivalent units, with the 85,383 moving across SeaPort Manatee’s docks being a 26% increase from a year earlier.

The increase was facilitated by volume growth for both of the port’s primary containerized cargo carriers — World Direct Shipping and Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc.

Other records set by SeaPort Manatee in the six-month period include:

  • Total cargo tonnage of 5,365,359, up 10.4 % over a year earlier
  • Noncontainerized break bulk tonnage of 351,878, up 34.4% with strong volumes of wood pulp (much of it used in manufacture of toilet paper), lumber, plywood and other forest products, as well as aluminum and recycled steel materials
  • Dry bulk tonnage of 1,230,124, up 13%, with big gains in moves of granite and dry phosphate rock
  • Liquid bulk tonnage of 3,122,510, up 3.8%

SeaPort Manatee’s first-fiscal-half high marks follow numerous full-fiscal-year records established in the 12-month period ended Sept. 30, 2021.

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