PALMETTO, Fla. - Cargo containers are big, bulky and vital for Port Manatee and beyond.
"It's important to the local economy. It’s important for local jobs," said Matty Appice.
Imports of fruits, vegetables and building supplies fill each container. They arrive from Mexico and the Del Monte Fruit Company.
"Most people going to their grocery stores or their Home Depot or Lowes look at what’s on the shelves and don’t realize all that comes in by container," said Appice.
As COVID-19 spread across the globe, Port Manatee's chief commercial officer said container traffic did not slow. In fact, 88,466 container units crossed Port Manatee's docks. Compared to last year, that's up nearly 55%
"Last year we had a record year in both tonnage revenue and containers. It was a tall order to certainly do better this year," Matty Appice said.
With container cargo business going up, Port Manatee is expanding its existing cargo yard from 10 acres to nearly 20.
"Despite COVID, we had a very promising year," said Appice.
While Port Manatee saw a drop in dry bulk and total cargo tonnage, imports of lumber, scrap metal and other necessities increased.
"We also had increases in wood pulp, which you know is used to make toilet paper so these were very important commodities to keep flowing to be able to support our local needs in the local areas and beyond," said Appice.
It's an important job, one in our own backyard and one that is often overlooked.
"It really proved how important a part of the supply chain the port really is," said Appice.
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