Starting this month produce shipping company Del Monte will add container shipping vessels to its Port Manatee itinerary, it was announced recently by the port.
Arrivals of Del Monte container vessels will be “periodically in a controlled growth,” according to the port.
While Del Monte isn’t completely switching to containerized cargo, the company will use container vessels at Port Manatee about every three weeks. Container vessels can hold 350 containers, compared to 96 containers on a breakbulk ship, according to the port.
Breakbulk differs from containerized cargo because loose materials or products are loaded, shipped and unloaded individually. When it comes to container shipping, storage units are used to encase the cargo.
At a recent Manatee County Port Authority meeting, it was revealed the port is considering updating Port Manatee’s crane technology with the increase of containerized cargo.
The Port Authority also approved a recorded easement and installation agreement with Florida Power and Light to install a transformer in the port’s container yard. The transformer will power 124 new refrigerated plugs that are necessary for cold containerized cargo storage.
While the port does seek to boost its container volume in the upcoming year, Port Manatee doesn’t plan to stop accepting breakbulk shipments.
Port officials have expressed the need for the capability to handle both breakbulk and container. While Port Manatee can handle breakbulk, most ports in Florida are not ready to handle breakbulk for fruits and vegetables. Containerization allows the port to reach further because now you don’t have to break the cold chain.
About Port Manatee
Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deep water seaport to the Panama Canal, serving bulk, break bulk, container, heavy lift, project and general cargo customers. The port generates more than $2.3 billion in annual economic impact for the local community, while supporting more than 24,000 jobs, without the benefit of ad-valorem taxes.