Port Manatee’s Berth 9 is now able to accommodate heavier loads thanks to completion of a reconstruction project in concert with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
At a dedication ceremony last week, officials cut a ribbon signaling the formal opening of the fortified 625-foot-long berth, which can now handle uniform loads of as many as 1,000 pounds per square foot.
At the ceremony, Vanessa Baugh, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority, pointed out that Manatee County already has benefited from the endeavor, as it created 250 construction-related jobs.
“Not only will the enhanced Berth 9 facilitate increased activity at Port Manatee in the long term,” Baugh said, “but it has already had a significant jobs-related impact.”
In 2015, Orion Marine Construction of Houston won a seven-way bid to reconstruct Berth 9.
The work consisted of demolishing the old dock, replacing it and building a new seawall. Previously Berth 9 could handle about 600 pounds per square foot, and the reconstruction enables it to take on roughly 1,000 pounds per square foot.
Located “Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico,” Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanded Panama Canal, with 10 40-foot-draft berths serving container, bulk, breakbulk, heavylift, project and general cargo customers.
The port generates more than $2.3 billion in annual economic impact for the local community, while supporting more than 24,000 jobs, without levying ad-valorem taxes.