In the wake of surging cargo business, owing to two new weekly container vessels from Asia under Cosco Shipping Lines and the CMA CGM Group, Port Tampa Bay is looking for avenues to keep up with the growth. The port handled 87,500 containers last year; which is a significant increase but still lags way behind major East Coast ports like Savannah, Charleston, S.C., Jacksonville, Miami, and Port Everglades.
Since the past few years, the port has been actively engaging in building relationships with its stakeholders and self-promoting to the major shippers worldwide. Its investment of $24 million, towards couple of 300-feet high gantry cranes, was also a step forward in handling larger vessels. Now, the port is gearing up to expand its capacity and has sanctioned $19.6 million for one future cargo berth. It has also modified its contract with its cargo operator, Ports America, to help pay for augmentation of port facilities, marketing, and operation activities.
The port is going to build a cargo container handling and storage yard on 23 acres of land at Berth 211. In this regard, it has shortlisted Tampa-based Pepper Construction Services which may get a go-ahead from the port in about three weeks. The Florida Department of Transportation has contributed nearly $8 million for the purpose. The construction company, which has previously worked for the port twice, will take around eight months to finish the job.
The port authorities have also green-signaled Ports America for the investment of nearly $2.3 million in terminal improvements as soon as the port hits 100,000 containers during a year’s time.
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