Florida's Largest And Most Cargo Diverse Port

Port Tampa Bay Image
Port Tampa Bay Cargo Image

Florida’s Largest Port (by size and tonnage): Port Tampa Bay is by far Florida’s largest port, handling over 37 million tons of cargo per year. For the first half of this fiscal year, we are experiencing a 10% increase in our total cargo tonnage. We are also Florida’s largest port in terms of physical size (and one of the largest in the country) encompassing over 5,000 acres.

Cargo Diversification:  Perhaps even more important than our size is the diversity of our portfolio. While most ports around the country only handle one or two types of cargo, Port Tampa Bay is the most diversified port in Florida (and one of the most diversified in the nation) handling ALL major cargo categories, including:

  • Liquid bulk (incl. petroleum, sulfur, ammonia, orange juice, etc.)
  • Dry bulk (incl. fertilizer, limestone, granite, cement, coal, etc.)
  • Break-bulk (we are Florida’s largest steel handling port with a cluster of related activities involving manufacturing, fabrication, processing and distribution with a focus on exports)
  • Containers (imports and exports of food and beverage products, consumer goods such as furniture, lubricants, agricultural products, etc.)
  • Automobiles (a target growth area for short sea given plant expansion in Mexico and Southeast US)
  • Cruise (Nearly 1 million passengers/year)
  • Shipbuilding & Repair (while not core to cargo, one of the largest shipbuilding and repair ports in the southeast is seen as adding to diversity and comprehensive full service status as a seaport)

Exports: In addition to being one of the world’s premier fertilizer export ports, Tampa is home to several globally successful exporters, such as Amalie Oil (manufacturer of specialty engine oils exporting to over 100 countries) and Tampa Tank/Florida Structural Steel (manufacturer of bridges, petroleum storage tanks and specialized steel structures with a focus on Latin American exports, as well as domestic markets).

Strategic Location Serving Huge/Growing Local Market & Exports: With a huge local market in excess of 8 million people and welcoming over 60 million tourists/visitors per year, the Tampa Bay/Orlando I-4 Corridor region is a huge local market and the fastest growing region of the state (currently outpacing the growth of South Florida by more than 2 to 1 and projected to do so for several years) and the major driver behind Florida recently overtaking NY as the 3rd largest state. The I-4 corridor is home to the largest concentration of distribution centers in Florida as companies seek to minimize time and their inland delivery cost of serving the entire state. Florida is the leading state for merchandise exports to Latin America and the Caribbean (responsible for 36% of all US exports to the region). Port Tampa Bay is the closest full service US port to the expanded Panama Canal, and is strategically positioned for emerging opportunities in Cuba (formerly Port Tampa Bay’s largest trading partner).

Attract Manufacturing through Real Estate. Land is the key asset for attracting manufacturing with export intentions and Port Tampa Bay is Florida's only port with large tracts of property zoned and available for manufacturing and industrial development adjacent to deep water with excellent highway access, rail access and competitive energy costs.

Port Tampa Bay Cranes

Expand Infrastructure and Capacity. Port Tampa Bay has a capital budget plan to spend $380 million over the next 5 years to include new docks, terminals and navigational improvements in support of continued growth of each of its key lines of business including:

Containers: In the summer of 2016, Port Tampa Bay dramatically ramped up its capability to attract new container services with the addition of new post-Panamax container gantry cranes.  Together with partner Ports America (the largest stevedoring firm in the US), Port Tampa Bay has a phased build-out plan to quadruple the size of its container terminal to more than 160 acres. Our plan for Central Florida is aggressive and focused on the container carriers as well as exporters and importers with the goal of attracting new services to serve the explosive growth of Central Florida, as today much of that business is routed through more distant and congested ports (including ports outside of Florida on the east and west coasts). 

Refrigerated:Port Tampa Bay is planning a multi-phased refrigerated warehouse complex and Food Campus targeting imports and exports of chilled and frozen agricultural commodities and protein products. Working with the port's new tenant, Port Logistics Refrigerated Services, Inc., Phase I is scheduled to open in August 2017 with a new 130,000 square foot trans-load warehouse facility focused on cross-docking and distribution of fruit and vegetables arriving from Latin America. Future phases will include a new express rail service between the Port and the US Midwest to serve that region’s demand for imported and exported perishables, as well as an adjacent 50-acre Food Campus that will include additional refrigerated warehouse space for food storage, processing and other value-added activities. Port Tampa Bay’s refrigerated expansion plans will enhance the Port’s strategy to attract additional containerized services and cargo, as well as breakbulk cargo.

Steel: To maintain its role as Florida’s premier port for the handling of steel products, Port Tampa Bay has developed a 270 acre site in Southern Hillsborough County at Port Redwing/South Bay. With direct access to deep water berths, the Interstate Highway System and CSX Rail mainline connection, the property is zoned for heavy industry and abundant electrical power is available at competitive rates thanks to its immediate proximity to Tampa Electric Company’s Big Bend power plant. In 2015, Tampa Tank/Florida Structural Steel became the first major tenant at Redwing and is fabricating steel structures for export markets. Discussions are underway with other new tenants that are looking to make significant new investments in new steel manufacturing, fabrication and distribution focused on serving export markets in Latin America, as well as the growing Florida market. An additional 145 acres of property is available for companies that see synergies with this Steel Campus or are interested in industrial development and manufacturing for exports or import activities.

Bulk Materials and Energy: New tenant Gulf Coast Bulk Equipment is developing a new terminal to open this summer and receive prilled sulfur, a key input to the fertilizer manufacturing process, which is the Port’s number one (and one of Florida’s largest) export commodity. Together with CSX Rail, Port Tampa Bay is collaborating to attract additional dry bulk terminals and commodities that can benefit from the combination of deep water, on-dock unit train rail capacity and proximity to growing markets. In late 2012, Port Tampa Bay, CSX and Kinder Morgan inaugurated the Tampa Gateway Terminal, Florida’s first on-dock unit train terminal receiving ethanol to serve the local/regional market and in 2014 the Port completed Phase I of its marine petroleum terminal expansion adding new deep water berths and a new pipe delivery system enhancing Port Tampa Bay’s status as Florida’s primary gateway for petroleum and other energy products.

Automobiles: Together with AMPORTS, the leading US port processor of automobiles, Port Tampa Bay has developed a new dedicated terminal to accommodate projected growth of automobile imports and exports resulting from the considerable expansion of plant capacity underway in Mexico and the Southeast US.