Containers: The recent launch of new direct Asia services and the addition of new service connections with Mexico and Central America highlight the significance and growth of Port Tampa Bay’s container market. Home to almost half the state’s population of more than 21 million residents and welcoming a majority of the 126 million tourists who visit Florida every year, the Tampa Bay/Orlando I-4 Corridor has the largest concentration of distribution centers in the state. From this central location in the middle of the Florida peninsula, importers and exporters achieve significant savings in their truck delivery costs to serve the entire state, while also reaching into markets throughout the Southeast and beyond. For companies involved in retail distribution, e-commerce, food and beverage, and manufacturing, the demands for same-day service, tighter delivery windows, and shorter lead times are driving this shift in supply chain strategy. Importers and exporters benefit from significant truck cost savings, as well as reductions in their carbon footprint, as drivers can now make multiple shorter round trip deliveries per day thanks to Port Tampa Bay’s preferred location and proximity to Florida’s Distribution Hub – the I-4 Corridor. Together with container terminal operator partner Ports America, Port Tampa Bay is continuing to expand and upgrade facilities, having recently added 25 acres of paved storage, with construction about to begin on another 30 acres, bringing the total container footprint to 100 acres. A third deep-water berth is also being added, along with additional cranes and a new gate complex.
Refrigerated: Port Logistics Refrigerated Services’ 135,000 square foot cold storage facility is perfectly situated at the closest port to Florida’s hub for the grocery and food and beverage sector. Its advanced design includes on-site refrigerated fumigation services, a glycol refrigerant system, 148 reefer plugs, USDA and CBP inspection and lab areas, and over 6,300 racked pallet positions. Situated on 14 acres, with room for expansion, the adjacent 700 foot berth is served by two dedicated mobile harbor cranes, and is just a stone’s throw from the Port’s container terminal. Very competitive northbound backhaul trucking rates extend the Port’s reach to efficiently serve customers with perishable products beyond Florida to locations throughout the Southeast, Northeast, and Midwest. Ocean container service connections with Central America were recently enhanced with an increase to weekly frequency from Costa Rica by SeacatLine and the launch of a new weekly service from Honduras and Guatemala by Dole Ocean Cargo Express.
Tampa Bay FTZ: The Tampa Bay/I-4 Corridor Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) is designed to make companies in the Tampa Bay/I-4 Corridor region more competitive in the international marketplace. Administered by Port Tampa Bay, the FTZ helps companies involved in international trade excel in their particular industry by streamlining the process and minimizing the costs associated with qualified import, export, manufacturing, and distribution activities. The advantages of operating a foreign-trade zone site are significant and can enhance a company’s logistics strategy, corporate compliance policy, and cash flow. The benefits of the FTZ program are available to qualifying companies depending on their import and/or export activities. Additionally, these benefits extend to all modes of transportation, including for goods moving by ocean, air, rail, truck, and pipeline. In general, the FTZ provides long-term competitive advantages for companies that are importing and/or exporting a tangible product by complementing the companies’ international logistics supply chain strategy. As an example of the diversity of the Tampa Bay/I-4 Corridor FTZ, it currently includes companies that handle a wide range of commodities such as food grade products, heavy construction machinery, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and steel.
Environmental: As one of the first U.S. ports to create a dedicated environmental department in the 1970s, Port Tampa Bay is deeply committed to environmental sustainability and considers the environmental impact of all projects as we grow our business. Port Tampa Bay’s diverse environmental projects include shoreline stabilization, fish and wildlife habitat, nuisance species removal, wetland mitigation, waste cleanup, and water quality improvements. Port Tampa Bay and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) work together to protect important bird populations nesting on dredge disposal islands in Tampa Bay. The port and the USACE jointly maintain the deep shipping channels and berths that carry the goods and services that drive our regional economy. These ongoing dredging operations place sand and soil from channels in Tampa Bay on dredge disposal islands in Hillsborough Bay. These activities create habitat-resembling natural beaches, which attract thousands of beach-nesting birds each spring. BirdLife International and the National Audubon Society have recognized the terns, gulls, skimmers, and oystercatchers nesting on these islands as globally significant, emphasizing the importance of their protection, especially during the annual nesting season April 1st through August 31st. Port Tampa Bay also recognizes the importance of this habitat. Annual dredging activities are coordinated and scheduled to avoid impacts during the five-month bird-nesting season. Led by Port Tampa Bay, Migratory Bird Protection Committee Meetings are held twice per year to review the dredging schedule and design operations to avoid impacts to the nesting birds. The result has been a coordinated partnership with the purpose of providing protection to nesting migratory bird species while meeting the needs for navigation and harbor maintenance.
Safety & Security: Our workplace is the Bay and all of the maritime and upland operations that surround it—more than 5,000 acres, which must all be secured. Port Tampa Bay remains a leader in port safety and security initiatives, which are a top priority for the organization and our industry partners. The Operations and Security departments share responsibility for the port’s safety and training initiatives, which are designed to facilitate a culture of safety through education and outreach to internal and external stakeholders. These programs emphasize many aspects of safety, including the safe handling of all cargo. The port is a founding member of the Tampa Bay Harbor Safety and Security Committee (TBHSSC), which meets regularly to discuss a wide variety of safety issues. Port Tampa Bay is a certified Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) participating agency. The CTPAT designation is awarded to ports that meet high standards for terrorism prevention. The port security department works closely with federal, state, and local agencies to maintain a high level of security on both the land and waterside. The port contracts with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) for dedicated law enforcement services and maintains an internal security force. Combined, they offer around the clock protection to the port community. Port Tampa Bay is also recognized as a “StormReady” port by the National Weather Service. Several programs are in place to prepare for a storm event and other emergencies, such as hurricanes or other heavy-weather. The port regularly conducts tabletop exercises and hosts meetings with the Port Heavy Weather Advisory Group (PHWAG). It also maintains a ready-to-deploy mobile command vehicle, as well as a fullyfunctional operations site in Winter Haven, Florida. Each year, the port hosts the Tampa Bay Safety Summit, which draws regionally from the first responder community. The variety of topics is wide and includes prevention, response, mitigation, and recovery topics.