PORT MANATEE -- Port Manatee plans to furlough all 54 employees one day a, month possibly through September, port officials said Monday.
The move became necessary after The Mosaic Co. shifted its fertilizer shipments from Port Manatee to a company-owned terminal south of Tampa effective within a month, according to a release issued Monday by Virginia Zimmermann, port marketing and public relations assistant.
"We at Port Manatee were not in a position to avert or even negotiate this, as Mosaic is not a direct customer of the port, but rather a customer of a port tenant," Zimmerman said in the release. "Such actions, similar to those enacted at the Port of Baltimore, have become an accepted practice to help
offset the cyclical nature of the port business while helping to preclude the possibility of job losses."
Mosaic spokeswoman Jackie Barron said her company's contract included phosphate shipping at Port Manatee and the Port of Tampa.
Mosaic officials decided to expand their Big Bend facility and move their business to their own facility, Barron said.
Barron emphasized Mosaic will still have an active relationship with Port Manatee.
"We're still very much a partner at the port," Barron said.
Port Manatee is near the Manatee County and Hillsborough County line, north of Palmetto.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @saraswrites.