PORT MANATEE : Southwest Florida’s deepwater seaport was named by “Global Trade” magazine as one of “Top 20 Niche Ports in the United States.”
The local port was one of only two in Florida on the list, the other being the much-larger Port of Jacksonville.
The magazine pointed to Port Manatee’s ability to handle a wide range of cargo. “At one time, many ports competed for the lucrative and growing container business — but not every port was suited to handle containers,” according to the magazine. “As ships got larger and started calling on fewer ports, the ports with the deepest drafts and the most spare acreage won out.
So other ports focused on other, niche markets. “Those not making money handling containers found success with other cargoes, such as bulk and break-bulk commodities, automobiles, roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) equipment and project cargoes.”
The Global Trade article cited Port Manatee’s ability to accommodate roll-on/roll-off vessels carrying such cargo as automobiles, buses and trucks, as well as the expansion of the port’s Berth 12 and 14 waterfront infrastructure to encompass 1,600 feet of contiguous berthing area.
“Port Manatee is honored to be named as one of the nation’s leading niche seaports,” Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee’s executive director, said in a written statement. “This recognition underscores the success of Port Manatee’s dynamic diversification strategy and well planned capital investments.”