October 4, 2023
Wave of Growth

Photo: Port Panama City

Port Panama City's new east terminal includes a 260,000-sq.-ft. warehouse.

Economic Backbone: Transportation/Trade/Logistics

Wave of Growth

Port Panama City and Port of Pensacola have big plans after a strong year.

Carlton Proctor | 5/31/2023

Northwest Florida’s two maritime ports posted strong growth last year, fueling their plans for major expansions.

Port Panama City topped 2 million tons in fiscal 2022, an all-time record, while revenue of $19.04 million also set a record. Meanwhile, Port of Pensacola handled 425,277 tons of cargo last year, the highest level in more than 15 years.

Much of the cargo and revenue growth at both ports was the result of significant increases in shipments of forest products to Central America.

“While much of the country spent last year dealing with supply chain disruptions, Port Panama City was focused on securing additional cargo that would normally move through gateway ports in other states,” says Alex King, executive director of Port Panama City. “Our port has become an attractive option for break-bulk forest products and other cargoes.”

Recent infrastructure improvements at Port Panama City have positioned the facility to accommodate and manage significant future growth, adds King. Those investments include:

  • Development of the new east terminal, including a 260,000-sq.-ft. warehouse and 900-foot bulkhead.
  • A Biomass Bulk Dome on the 138-acre west terminal.
  • Development of a FedEx ground regional distribution center.
  • A new 70,000-sq.-ft. on-port container freight station that will support continued growth in trade with Mexico.

Port of Pensacola’s continued growth this year will come from bulk shipments of cement along with exports of wind energy generators and imports of equipment from Asia and South America, says Port Director Clark Merritt.

Port of Pensacola also had a $53-million grant application pending with Triumph Gulf Coast for upgrading the port's infrastructure. However, Mayor D.C. Reeves recently scaled back that $53-million request and is now focusing on a grant that would provide funding for a Center for Maritime Excellence.

That proposed project includes space for maritime research and tech development. 

Tags: Transportation, Feature

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