Big ships play big roles in Tampa's big projects

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A huge ship arrived at Port Tampa Bay on Monday, with lots of cargo for Tampa International Airport – but it wasn’t aircraft.  The 750-foot Donald M. James began offloading thousands of tons of limestone aggregate material to be used for concrete for the airport's taxiway resurfacing project. 

"It's going to be used on Taxiway W. It's a massive taxiway project we have going on," explained airport spokesman Danny Valentine. 

Port president and CEO Paul Anderson said significant cost savings will be achieved because it will take trucks just minutes to drive from the port to the on-site concrete plant at the airport. 

“We’re so lucky to have such a thriving port right next to Tampa International Airport,” he offered.

The Donald M. James belongs to Vulcan Materials, which recently introduced the James' sister ship, the Ireland, to Port Tampa Bay.  Both were built in China to transport limestone from mines in Mexico's Yucatan region to ports along the U.S. Gulf Coast. 

The two ships will also supply material to build new roads and bridges in the Tampa Bay Area. 

"Anybody who is driving around our community can see the construction that's taking place," added Anderson.