Advertisement
  1. Business

With its container business growing, Port Tampa Bay sets the stage for more

The container ship Cosco Piraeus docked at Port Tampa Bay in January to unload the first of what will be two weekly shipping container deliveries from Asia. CHRIS URSO | Times
Published Mar. 19

TAMPA — Now that its cargo business is ramping up, thanks largely to two new weekly container ships from Asia, Port Tampa Bay has a new challenge: keeping up with its growth.

"We're sort of the dog that caught the car," Port Tampa Bay president and chief executive officer Paul Anderson said Tuesday. "We've got to handle two (new) weekly ocean services. That's an additional 104 vessel calls per year of some of the largest ships that have ever come to Port Tampa Bay."

The growth didn't come out of nowhere. The port has spent years building relationships, marketing itself to major shippers and investing $24 million in two 300-foot-tall gantry cranes to handle bigger ships. Now officials say it's on a pace that will require expanded capacity.

So the port board approved a $19.6 million expansion at one future cargo berth and tweaked its contract with its cargo operator, Ports America, to improve port facilities, operations and marketing at several others.

SHIP NO. 1: Port Tampa Bay lands weekly container ship delivery from China

SHIP NO. 2: The biggest ships the bay has ever seen are headed to Port Tampa Bay

First, port board members voted to hire Pepper Construction Services of Tampa to transform about 23 grassy acres at Berth 211 into a secure shipping container handling and storage yard. The project includes nearly $8 million from the Florida Department of Transportation. Pepper, which submitted a lower bid than GLF Construction Corp. of Miami, is expected to get a notice to proceed in about three weeks and take an expected eight months to finish the work. The Tampa company has done two other jobs for the port, both on schedule and with no claims from contractors.

Next, the board approved a new agreement with Ports America calling for the company to invest nearly $2.3 million in terminal improvements as soon as the port hits 100,000 containers over a 12-month period, something port officials expect to see in the near future. Last year, the port handled 87,500 containers, a big increase over the year before but still a fraction of what passes through major East Coast ports like Savannah, Charleston, S.C., and, closer to home, Jacksonville, Miami and Port Everglades.

In exchange for the investment, the port agreed to start giving Ports America a credit of $7 per container for the new business coming in via the two new carriers, Cosco Shipping Lines and the CMA CGM Group. That kind of rebate is typical for the industry, Anderson said, and the port has similar marketing and rebate agreements with its cruise lines.

"We want to double our container business this year, and maybe triple and quadruple in the next 12 to 24 months, so we now have to make those investments with Ports America to be able to handle that capacity and get the throughput and the velocity of the containers to maintain those companies that are coming here," he said. "It's a great problem to have."

Contact Richard Danielson at rdanielson@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay homeowners are now able to sell their homes to Zillow. Zillow
    It joins Opendoor and Offerpad in making "instant'' offers.
  2. The microbrewery Double Branch Artisanal Ales is the first tenant signed at The Grove after the acquisition of the Wesley Chapel shopping center last month by Mishorim-Gold Properties for nearly $63 million. Double Branch Artisanal Ales.
    Mark Gold wants The Grove at Wesley Chapel to become the community’s downtown
  3. Jeffrey D. Senese was inaugurated as Saint Leo University's 10th president. Pictured, Monsignor Robert Morris (left), Class of 1979, and a member of the board of trustees, and D. Dewey Mitchell, chair of the university’s board of trustees, bestow the presidential medallion on Senese. Renee Gerstein and William Speer, Saint Leo University
    New and notes on local businesses
  4. Dr. Manjusri Vennamaneni (center) was awarded Businesswoman of the Year by the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce. With her are Matt Romeo, President of PrimeCare (left), and Dr. Pariksith Singh, CEO, Access Health Care Physicians. Vince Vanni
    News and notes on local businesses
  5. Tampa Bay Lighting host a watch party on the beach at the Tradewinds resort on St. Pete Beach in February. LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times
    TradeWinds is the biggest resort in Pinellas County.
  6. A view of the downtown St. Petersburg skyline and waterfront from over Tampa Bay.
    The news that the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation wants to change its name to include “Tampa Bay” has been met with resistance.
  7. The Whole Coffee Company makes Dunkin’-branded Coffee Thins as well as Tim Hortons Double Double bars and its own Whole Coffee Company-branded nudge coffee bars. (Photo courtesy The Whole Coffee Company) The Whole Coffee Company
    The Whole Coffee Company, which is based in Miami, was previously known as Tierra Nueva Fine Cocoa. ProspEquity Partners of Tampa owns a majority stake in Whole Coffee.
  8. The Corona Cove opens as the Florida Aquarium's new outdoor bar. The beer company is pledging continued donations to aid conservation efforts. Florida Aquarium
    The beer company also has pledged donations to aid conservation efforts.
  9. The Triton cantaloupe, created with help from Eckerd College. Eckerd College
    The St. Petersburg college teamed up with a central Florida plant breeder to create the Triton cantaloupe.
  10. FILE - In this May 14, 2019, fiel photo, containers are piled up at a port in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province. China’s economic growth slowed to a 26-year low in the latest quarter as a tariff war with Washington weighed on exports and auto sales and other domestic activity weakened. The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.2 percent in the three months ending in September, down from the previous quarter’s 6 percent, data showed Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. AP
    Growth in the world’s second-largest economy slipped to 6% in the three months ending in September, down from the previous quarter’s 6.2%, data showed Friday.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement