Port Tampa Bay is pleased to introduce CEO Corner, from President and CEO Paul Anderson. CEO Corner is a monthly blog that takes a high-level look at issues that affect the maritime community, as well as Tampa Bay.
CEO Corner: Port Tampa Bay remains committed to a blue economy and sustainable environment
Welcome to CEO Corner. In this post, I would like to share how Port Tampa Bay has risen to the challenge of being an industrial seaport that remains deeply committed to environmental sustainability. As one of the first Ports in the nation to have a dedicated Environmental Department, Port Tampa Bay is deeply committed to environmental sustainability and natural resource protection. Additionally, I serve as the chair of the Florida Ocean Alliance, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to bringing together the private sector, academia, and nonprofit research organizations in Florida to protect and enhance the state’s coastal and ocean resources for continued social and economic benefits.
Our port is located on Tampa Bay, Florida’s largest open water estuary and an estuary of national significance and we take our role in protecting our neighboring ecosystem seriously. Our tenants and staff demonstrate daily that nature and industry can co-exist.
Port Tampa Bay’s sustainability efforts include:
- The creation of two islands in Hillsborough Bay, where material removed from shipping channels is stored. These islands have become home to globally significant populations of nesting birds, including the American Oystercatcher and Least Tern, some of the state's rarest species.
- We continue to find innovative beneficial uses for dredge spoil materials such as the filling of a deep oxygen-poor dredge hole in McKay Bay and several ongoing beach nourishment projects.
- Our award-winning restoration projects create tidal wetlands, mangrove forests, and improve water quality and habitat.
- Unique to any Port in the Country, we own and manage of over 200 thousand acres of Sovereignty Submerged Lands in Hillsborough County, held in trust for the public. Our Submerged Lands Management program and multiple restoration projects have added to the ongoing recovery of Tampa Bay’s habitat and water quality.
Additionally, our port is ready to rise to the ongoing challenge of climate change through preparedness and resiliency efforts:
- We work with local, state, federal partners, and the port community to build resiliency into our Port operations.
- PTB is the first Port in the nation recognized as “Storm Ready” by the National Weather Service.
- On the Port Resiliency Index, developed by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the Port scored 95%.
- We host an annual hurricane exercise in advance of hurricane season.
- Developing of an off-site operations center in Winter Haven, FL which allows the port to operate its vital programs in the case the Port is shut down due to an emergency.
Port Tampa Bay is committed to protecting the quality of the air and water in and around the Port by continuously working with our tenants and the Port Community to minimize the impact of day-to-day operations. Our port collaborates with environmental leaders to take part in clean-ups, brainstorm ways to prevent litter and debris from entering waterways and getting the community involved in the sustainability of our region. Some examples of our pollution prevention efforts include:
- Hosted the first-ever Great Port Clean-Up, to remove more than 19,000 pounds trash and marine debris from several sites in and around our port. This event received the Award of Excellence from the American Association of Port Authorities and has served as a model for other seaports in the U.S.
- Conducting annual storm water inspections and hosting annual pollution prevention trainings with our staff and tenants to protect our waterways.
- Joining the “Hillsborough Trash Free Waters Partnership”, a commitment to keep our waters clean and beautiful for future generations.
- Participation in coastal clean-ups through a partnership with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, as well as committing to be a “Business for the Bay” through the Reduce Your Use Campaign - a partnership between Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful and the City of Tampa.
- Adoption of a “water goat” in McKay Bay, preventing thousands of pounds of float-able trash from entering Tampa Bay’s watershed.
- Reducing air emissions by the scheduling truck arrivals to reduce idling of trucks in and around port operations and the Construction of the Crosstown Connector, creating a dedicated truck lane from I-4 to the Port, reducing emissions and wear on local roads.
- Upgraded gantry cranes are electric, rather than the traditional diesel cranes. The entire Port is a designated Brownfield Redevelopment Area, and the Port has spent millions of dollars cleaning up contaminated industrial sites.
In addition to all of these efforts, Port Tampa Bay created an internal Maritime Sustainability Team (MaST) whose focus has been to reduce waste, conserve energy and raise our carbon consciousness among staff. MaST has helped to bring water bottle filling stations and water dispensers at our port’s headquarters, eliminating the cost and use of thousands of plastic water bottles. Port Tampa Bay has also implemented an enhanced recycling program at our headquarters and conducted a detailed Energy Study resulting in significant efficiency updates to lighting, HVAC systems, and more.
Port Tampa Bay is also seeking out new partnerships, who share our vision for a sustainable future. I was honored to have recently been named chair of the Florida Ocean Alliance, a group seeking to enhance Florida’s coastal and ocean resources for continued social and economic benefits. Additionally, Port Tampa Bay welcomes our new tenant Celadon Development Corporation. Their state of the art recycled paper plant, located at Port Tampa Bay, will create hundreds of millions of dollars in generational economic impact. In addition to the job creation and diversification, it offers our maritime community, Celadon and its partners are global leaders in environmental sustainability and will use cutting-edge technology to create a new recyclable product. The benefits will span our entire community and region.
I am so pleased to share with you just some of the many environmental initiatives underway at Port Tampa Bay. Thank you for joining me for this edition of CEO Corner. I look forward to connecting with you next month!