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Busy Port Manatee Expands, Creates 1,000+ Jobs

Ever heard of a Panamax? It's the term for a ship that meets the size requirements necessary to pass through the Panama Canal. It's generally 965 feet long, about 107 feet wide and requires about 40 feet of water.

The Port of Manatee is preparing a berth that will accommodate the mammoth Panamax. Dredging begins on a new berth -- Berth 12 -- that will accommodate Panamax ships along with a 52-acre container yard to accommodate cargo.

The expansion will bring in approximately 1,047 jobs both directly and indirectly, according to Steve Tyndal, senior director of trade development and special projects at the Port of Manatee.

"By increasing the number of ships that go through and introducing lines going through our port, the canal makes more money in tolls, and we make more money and create more jobs," says Tyndal.

The Port of Manatee is one of 16 U.S. ports (out of 361) that have an agreement with the Panama Canal Authority that allows them to share marketing and information between the canal and the port, Tyndal says.

Other Florida ports that enjoy the benefits of this agreement include Miami, Everglades, Jacksonville and Tampa.

"But we are the closest," says Tyndal. "If you look at a map, ships coming out of Miami must deal with Cuba.

"The Panama Canal selected us; saw something special in us," Tyndal continues. "We believe they saw port proximity. We are conveniently served by trucks and the CSX mainline, which means containers can be easily transported through us."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Steve Tyndal, Port of Manatee

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