Following years of planning and construction, Port Manatee’s nearly 1,600-foot-long Berth 12 received its first ship three days ahead of its scheduled dedication Oct. 20th.
The 492-foot long M/V Sea Brave made the maiden call at the mammoth Berth 12 at 11 a.m. Oct. 17th, following certification by the Tampa Bay Pilots Association Oct. 5th, authorizing ship traffic at the 41 foot-deep berth by the association’s 23 harbor pilots.
“This is a big moment for Port Manatee, our tenants, customers and the port’s future,” said Port Manatee Executive Director David L. McDonald PPM®. “To attract Class A carriers, we have to offer Class A facilities and we’ve achieved that goal with the opening of Berth 12.”
The Berth 12 dredging project – the largest new construction dredging project on Tampa Bay in years – designates the official opening of South Port, the focus of Port Manatee’s $200 million decade-long expansion.
The new berth can accommodate Panamax-sized vessels and sits adjacent to a planned 52-acre container terminal, aimed at attracting new cargoes expected in the Gulf of Mexico linked with the ongoing expansion of the Panama Canal.
Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the Panama Canal and shares a strategic alliance with the Panama Canal Authority. Berth 12 will provide the port new capacity driven by changing trade lanes in the Western Hemisphere.
Source: businesswire, October 18, 2011;