When the expected cargo blitz surges through the expanded Panama Canal
in 2014, the Port of Tampa plans to be ready.
The Tampa Port Authority
has finished its latest phase of a long-term expansion that will
eventually accommodate more than 1 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent
units, a measure used for capacity in container
transportation) per year.
"We are very
pleased to work with our partners Ports America, the Executive Shippers
Council and our container carriers to ensure Tampa is well-positioned to
serve the anticipated growth in Central Florida's overseas trade," says Richard Wainio, Tampa's port director and CEO, in a news release. "We
will continue to move forward with a business-like approach towards
investment in Tampa's container facilities".
The latest phase increases paved storage space from 25 to 40
acres and adds another 2,100 feet of berth length. The terminal also
added four cranes along its 43-foot-deep water channel to accommodate
more container traffic through the port.
More than 150
key exporting firms in the region should benefit from the
Port's additional container space, because it may save them time and
traveling to more distant ports.
In addition, the Florida Department of Transportation
is building a ramp and connector leading from the port to ultimately
connect with both Interstate 4 and Interstate 75 for faster access to
commercial hubs in Orlando and Atlanta. The Interstate 4 corridor
between Tampa and Orlando is the 10th-largest economy in the country,
with a gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $272 billion.
"The roadway will link Interstate 4 with the Selmon
Expressway just west of 31st Street in Tampa," says John McShaffrey,
a spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation. "It will
be east of downtown on the east side of the port and will link the
Selmon with I-4 to significantly improve the movement of people and
McShaffrey says the new
roadway will have exclusive truck lanes to keep Ybor City traffic
congestion to a minimum.
Richard Wainio, Port of Tampa; John McShaffrey, Florida Department of