Tampa's port gains two more major cargo shipping deals
Earlier this year, Cosco Shipping Lines of China started sending its container cargo ships to Port Tampa Bay, where container traffic was already up 55% from 2017 to 2018. The port subsequently announced that French shipping company CMA CGM will begin delivering cargo from Asia to Tampa this month. The CMA CGM ships, which can carry up to 9,500 20-foot-long containers, will be the largest at the port. Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay’s president and CEO, spoke to FLORIDA TREND about the deals.
Impact: “From the port’s perspective, this is huge and a significant leap forward in our diversification strategy, allowing us to now be a very competitive gateway to the I-4 corridor, Florida’s largest and fastest-growing consumer market, and reaching beyond. Central Florida importers and exporters can now benefit from very fast transit times to receive their products from Asia and to reach their overseas customers. Most importantly, they are seeing significant savings in their truck delivery costs versus having to truck their products into our market from more distant ports. These new services will also help make Central Florida a very competitive location for site selectors and industrial real estate brokers looking for property to establish new distribution centers and manufacturing facilities.”
Scope: “Both services will be calling on Port Tampa Bay weekly as part of an extension of the carriers’ Asia-Gulf of Mexico services made possible by the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2016. Cosco’s service to Tampa, which began in January, is currently using 4,500- TEU (20-foot equivalent units) ships, and they have indicated they would like to upgrade the service to 8,500-TEU vessels sometime this year. CMA CGM’s ships have 8,500- and 9,500-TEU capacity.”
Groundwork: “We would not have even been in the conversation for these new services if we had not added two new post-Panamax container gantry cranes (at a total cost of $24 million) in the summer of 2016. Together with our terminal operator partner Ports America, we are now moving forward with plans to add more cranes and container-handling equipment, as well as continue to expand terminal acreage and berth capacity.”
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