Make us your home page

Port of Tampa summit aims to bring in more cars and trucks

TAMPA — The auto manufacturing industry is rapidly expanding in Mexico, and the Port of Tampa wants to get in on the action.

That's why the Tampa Port Authority hosted its first Tampa Automotive Short Sea Summit this week, bringing together representatives from the major auto manufacturers, auto parts companies and shipping companies to discuss how Tampa could become a destination for this lucrative four-wheeled cargo.

Port officials would not reveal what companies attended the summit, which began Tuesday. But Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman, who sits on the port's governing board, said she saw companies such as General Motors and Mercedes-Benz on hand.

"I saw all the major companies there," she said. "I thought that from the level of representation, the number of people there, I think was a clear indication that we are on the right track to try and get the car manufacturers here."

One of chief executive Paul Anderson's top goals is to turn the Port of Tampa into an import and export gateway for cars and trucks, importing Mexican-made vehicles into the United States and exporting U.S.-made vehicles to Latin America.

To that end, in July the port signed a "letter of intent" with Amports, one of the leading auto processing companies in the United States, to develop the facilities needed to handle unloading cars and trucks from ships at the Port of Tampa.

The port has set aside a 100,000-square-foot building at Berth 202 for a future vehicle distribution center, where vehicles can be unloaded off ships, customized and then sent off across the country via rail or truck.

Tampa, though, has competition nearly 40 miles away.

Port Manatee held its own summit on Monday. Both ports want to capture a share of the same vehicle markets. To that goal, Port Manatee dedicated a new 1,594-foot berth that can accommodate two ships at the same time and a 174,000-square-foot warehouse.

Matthew Appice, the senior director of trade development and sales for Port Manatee, said he hopes to announce a deal in the first or second quarter of 2014. But he also said that there could potentially be enough business for both ports.

"This segment is rapidly growing, and there's even rumors of new announcements coming in the next few weeks of new car companies moving into Mexico," Appice said. "There will certainly be enough for both ports in the future."

Jamal Thalji can be reached at (813) 226-3404, [email protected] or @jthalji on Twitter.

Port of Tampa summit aims to bring in more cars and trucks 11/20/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 9:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients


    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel


    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal


    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate


    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]