For Full Story: Tampa Bay Business Journal
Article By: Veronica Brezina-Smith
The Palmetto port known for its citrus imports and phosphate products is expanding its refrigerated warehouse.
Port Manatee is expected to approve a Florida Department of Transportation grant on Dec. 20 that would pay for approximately 50 percent of the $1 million cold storage warehouse improvement project.
The project includes six new loading docks that will be used to efficiently move cargo from a shipping container into an over-the-road trailer without the need of warehouse storage. Having this cross-dock available at the cold storage warehouse provides the flexibility to move cargo either into the warehouse or into an over-the-road trailer, port spokeswoman Virginia Zimmermann said.
The tenant currently using Warehouse 2 is World Direct Shipping, which operates between Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, and Port Manatee.
Warehouse 2 is 115,000 square feet total with 50,000 square feet of chilled space; 5,000 square feet of current loading dock space; and 60,000 dry square footage. The six new loading docks would add 4,500 square feet. The port currently has five cold storage warehouses that total 207,000 square feet.
A request for proposals from construction firms wanting to work on the project will go out mid-to late January.
Port Manatee, which is the closest port to Cuba, has been breaking its cargo records. This fiscal year, it handled a record high of more than 9.3 million tons, up 19.1 percent from the previous fiscal year. It was due largely to a more-than-tripling of phosphate rock imports, and its dry bulk products rise 48.5 percent, reaching a record 1,970,340, while liquid bulk, the port’s largest sector, saw an 11.4 percent boost, to a record 6.2 million tons.