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Planned CSX Winter Haven Facility Could Boost Future Port Manatee Business


MANATEE--Port Manatee would reap the benefits of increased importing and exporting business when CSX Transportation's Winter Haven, Florida facility is completed in two years. Vance Bennett, Director of Port development for CSX Intermodal presented the encouraging news during his report to the Port Manatee board at Thursday's meeting in Palmetto.

CSX Director of Port Development Vance Bennett

Construction on the central Florida facility is set to begin in the Fall of 2011 with completion scheduled for the spring of 2013. When the 930 acre Winter Haven location is opened, the existing Orlando facility will close.

Mr. Bennett said the new operations center will open new corridors for shipping throughout the east coast and to the west coast of the United States. "More companies are looking to rail for their shipping needs," he said. Citing efficiency and better manageability than using just trucking lines, Mr. Bennett said that rail shipping from ports provides "a better bang for the buck."

Port Manatee Executive Director David McDonald said the port would need to negotiate use of the track with CSX, which owns the railroad tracks throughout Manatee County, but that would open up potential increased shipping business. 

Mr. Bennett also cited the fuel and energy cost savings of using rail transportation of cargo during his presentation. The new service facility will be a benefit to Port Manatee and other ports by allowing them to move shipments more efficiently and to more easily adjust capacity needs when exports and imports increase.


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