PALMETTO -- Franc J. Pigna, founder and managing director of Aegir Port Property Advisors -- a company whose objective is to enhance the value of ports and port properties -- succeeded at enchanting Port Authority members at Thursday's meeting. Aegir offers a wide range of property related services that bridge industries to maximize revenue streams with a practical and market driven approach; and Pigna believes Port Manatee is a diamond in the dark.
Pigna says Port Manatee has more available land surrounding it than any other port in the state. "If you have the land, you have the advantage." Pigna sees the port much like he views a shopping mall and says, "Ports need to act as asset managers." He recognizes more value in the infrastructure and surrounding properties of a port than just the actual handling of cargo.
Port Manatee remains somewhat In the dark, if for no other reason than for being in the shadow of Port of Tampa. But Pigna says our port is in a great position to specialize and work both directions of the chain by which ports are the connecting link.
Pigna's presentation wasn't just some good common sense and bootstrap motivation. It was about personalizing the port, researching connected enterprises and reaching out to embrace tomorrow's market.
"You don't need to be the biggest port, just profitable," said Pigna, adding a couple of stories on how some ports cut out a future from the low-hanging fruit of other larger ports. "With the amount of land surrounding Port Manatee, you are in a great position."
"Ports often underestimate the value of land," said Pigna. He says clients understand the value of the maintained infrastructure once it is explained to them, "and they are willing to pay for it."
"I think it is 60 percent of the containers that come into Florida, don't come through a Florida Port," Pigna said. That leaves Port Manatee in a fortunate position. "There's been enough said about the Panama Canal, but the gulf ports will benefit the most from the canal once it is finished."
Pigna says to know and understand your clients' needs, and to help them do the best job they can do. He said that research and a market-driven approach which focuses on long-term profit for sustainability is key. Pigna said, "What you say and do today is going to affect your grandchildren."
Thursday's presentation was "a 10,000 foot fly-over" Pigna said, adding that the next look would be a closer one.
Getting more aggressive with land management certainly sounded like a good idea to the board, as did many of Pigna's other suggestions. Commissioners all said they are looking forward to the next meeting.
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