On July 22nd Port Tampa Bay officially commissioned its two new, post-Panamax gantry cranes, amid an enthusiastic crowd of dignitaries and port customers. Florida Governor Rick Scott delivered remarks highlighting the significance of this enhanced capacity for Port Tampa Bay to serve Florida’s expanding international trade, as well as the importance of the state’s seaports and logistics sector in generating jobs and economic development.
Many noted dignitaries spoke to the important milestone the new cranes represent and the value of global trade and seaports to the economy. Representing a cost-shared capital investment of $24 million by Port Tampa Bay, the State of Florida, and Ports America, the new cranes are part of the port’s ongoing efforts to expand and diversify its cargo business, in particular the large and growing market for containerized cargo in the port’s backyard – the Tampa Bay/Orlando I-4 Corridor region. Home to the largest concentration of distribution centers in the state, the Tampa Bay/Orlando I-4 Corridor is the fastest growing region of Florida, recently surpassing New York as the third most populous state, with more than 20 million residents, and welcoming more than 100 million tourists per year.
“Today marks an important milestone for Port Tampa Bay, enhancing our ability to better serve our large and growing market, and assisting our efforts to attract new services, which will provide exporters and importers in our region with more options and improved connections to their overseas customers and suppliers,” Paul Anderson, president and CEO, of Port Tampa Bay said. With a total height of over 300 feet and an outreach of 174 feet, the new cranes allow the port to handle ships nearly twice the size of the largest ships that could be accommodated by the port’s existing three older container cranes. Since their delivery and installation in early April, the new cranes have undergone extensive testing and certification. “It’s great to unveil these beautiful new cranes to our customers and the community, following a seamless and exciting period of getting them ready for container operations. We appreciate the support and leadership of the governor and our elected officials, as well as our strategic partner Ports America and our own team, who have worked on the crane project. It’s truly a milestone for the port as we realize this tremendous capital investment and begin to see the generational benefits for the economy.”