Port Tampa Bay Receives Strong Financial Rating by Fitch

- Fitch Ratings-New York recently affirmed the ‘A’ rating on Port Tampa Bay’s (the Hillsborough County Port District) approximately $99 million in outstanding senior bank loans with a stable outlook for the future. This rating reflects continued strong and growing throughput and revenue performance from diverse business operations, bolstered by contracted revenues, which further reinforce revenue stability.

 “We are pleased that Fitch Ratings, a global leader in credit ratings and research, has re-affirmed our strong financial position, reflecting the Port’s growth and ongoing capital investment program to be positioned for continued expansion opportunities,” said Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay President and CEO.  

 Recent operating performance was notably positive by fiscal 2018 operating revenues increasing by 11.1% to $59.7 million. This growth in operating revenue was primarily driven by increased cargo activity and additional cruise revenue. Within major revenue categories, bulk cargo increased 10.9%, general cargo increased by 11.3% and cruise revenue increased 9.7%.

 Fitch noted that the Port has a strong manageable five-year capital plan through 2023 which totals approximately $400 million and includes several improvement and expansion projects that seek to increase intermodal connectivity and enhance the district’s current revenue base.

 Port Tampa Bay is the largest port in the state of Florida in terms of tonnage and land holdings and is one of the most diversified ports in the country.  The port derives a major portion of its revenues as a “landlord port” from dockage, wharfage and rent, while providing the facilities for tenants to conduct diversified cargo and cruise operations.

 No single maritime business line, inclusive of cargo and cruise, generates more than 26% of total operating revenue. The port’s status as a landlord port limits its operational risk, and approximately 55% of operating revenues are derived from long-term lease agreements.

 Port Tampa Bay is the closest port to Florida’s fastest-growing region and its largest consumer market- the Tampa Bay/Orlando I-4 Corridor. Home to almost half of the state’s population of more than 21 million residents and welcoming a majority of the tourists who visit Florida annually, the I-4 Corridor has the largest concentration of distribution centers in the state. This strategic location along with its competitive position in the U.S. Gulf, has helped spur growth and expansion of its cargo and cruise business, which has included the recent addition of three new weekly Asia direct container services and increased cruise activity which surpassed one million passengers last year. The recent announcement that Celebrity Cruises will add service in October 2020, bolsters the outlook for the Port’s cruise business going forward. 

 To learn more about Fitch Ratings, visit www.fitchratings.com.

 To learn more about Port Tampa Bay, visit www.portTB.com.

About Port Tampa Bay

Port Tampa Bay is Florida’s largest port and the largest economic engine in west central Florida, supporting nearly 85,000 jobs and generating over $17 billion in annual economic impact. In addition to serving as a top 10 U.S. cruise port, the port handles a wide array of bulk, break bulk, containers and roll-on/roll-off cargoes, and is a major shipbuilding and repair center.

 About Fitch Group

 Fitch Group is a global leader in financial information services with operations in more than 30 countries. Fitch Group is comprised of Fitch Ratings, a global leader in credit ratings and research; Fitch Solutions, a leading provider of credit market data, analytical tools and risk services; and Fitch Learning, a preeminent training and professional development firm. With dual headquarters in London and New York, Fitch Group is owned by Hearst.