BRADENTON -- Port Manatee Senior Director of Trade Development and Special Projects, Steve Tyndal, presented the Manatee County Port Authority with their Tiger lll Grant process report at Tuesday's meeting, which occurred in the BOCC chambers, just after a commission workshop. Port Manatee stands to get $33 million in assistance in federal grant money to rehab port infrastructure with new rail, berth enhancements (berths no. 6 though 11) and two switch locomotives. This also includes new ties, switches turnouts and ballast.
The Manatee Port Authority voted unanimously to continue on through the registration process. The port revisions are targeted to be completed by 2013, about the same time The Panama Canal additions will be completed. With the ability to utilize their heavy harbor cranes, Port Manatee can handle heavier loads and more volume with added safety. Direct port-to-rail shipping to Indiana and Illinois will open up market options, presumably bringing additional jobs and prosperity to the region.
With the additional rail and dredged berths, there will also be warehouse and refrigeration facilities added. This should prepare Port Manatee for anything Panama has coming this way. Since a barge accident closed the Houston Port Channel, Port Manatee is the closest open U.S. port to the Panama Canal.