Port Manatee officials set ribbon-cutting

skennedy@bradenton.comSeptember 27, 2013 

Construction taking place in November 2012 to extend Berth 12 by 584 feet to accommodate giant ships coming from the Panama Canal in the future, say Port Manatee officials. HERALD FILE PHIOTO


PALMETTO -- Manatee County Port Authority officials have set Oct. 29 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorating the opening of the port's new Berth 12 and an adjacent container yard, they said Thursday.

They're hoping Gov. Rick Scott, who has been invited, will be among dignitaries in attendance.

"It is about two or three weeks from being done," Carlos Buqueras, the port's executive director, said of the $13 million project.

Construction on the new facility will be complete, but it will not be opened until the ceremony, he said.

"We are holding a real celebration ceremony for both, because it's part of the same project," he said about the berth and the neighboring container yard at the port, which is located in north Manatee County, near the Hillsborough County line.

Federal, state and port authority funds were used to build the project, which created about 100 construction jobs, Buqueras said.

"It really confirms Port Manatee's interest in serving container ships," as there is a growing demand in the Tampa Bay region for them, Buqueras said.

Asked if he has had a confirmation from the governor's office, Buqueras said, "We are very hopeful," because state money aided in its construction, Scott would attend the ribbon-cutting.

The event is set for 2 p.m. Oct. 29 at Berth 12, according to a copy of the invitations.

"We have not released our public schedule for that day yet," Jackie Schutz, a spokeswoman for the governor's office wrote in an e-mail Thursday, when asked whether Scott planned to attend.

"We will keep you posted."

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.

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