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Economy / Business

Port Manatee In Palmetto Sets New Cargo Record

Container ships at Port Manatee
Port Manatee is the closest U.S. port on Tampa Bay to the Panama Canal. COURTESY: Manatee County Port Authority

Port Manatee set a new record for cargo traffic in 2018.

The Palmetto-based seaport topped 10 million tons of cargo for the first time in its 50-year history.

Officials also say Port Manatee has set tonnage records in each of the past six fiscal years.

Container cargo increased nearly 50 percent in 2018, thanks in part to increased liquid bulk, like petroleum products and juice concentrates.

Port officials say sustained strong volumes for longtime tenant Del Monte Fresh Produce were also among key contributors to the port’s record containerized cargo figures posted in the fiscal year which ended Sept. 30.

Port Manatee is one of Florida's largest deepwater seaports and is the closest U.S. port on Tampa Bay to the Panama Canal.

In June, the Manatee County Commission, sitting as the port authority, approved a plan to spend nearly $23 million to upgrade and expand port facilities.

The Florida Department of Transportation is kicking in a large portion of that money, the rest will come from port authority reserves.