PALMETTO -- Port Manatee’s newly completed Berth 12 received its first ship three days ahead of its scheduled dedication Thursday.
The 492-foot M/V Sea Brave made the maiden call at the nearly Berth 12 at 11 a.m. Monday, following certification by the Tampa Bay Pilots Association Oct. 5, authorizing ship traffic at the 41-foot-deep berth by the association’s 23 harbor pilots.
“This is a big moment for Port Manatee, our tenants, customers and the port’s future,” said Port Manatee Executive Director David L. McDonald. “To attract Class A carriers, we have to offer a Class A facilities and we’ve achieved that goal with the opening of Berth 12.”
The Berth 12 dredging project designates the official opening of South Port, the focus of Port Manatee’s $200 million decade-long expansion.
The new berth can accommodate Panama-sized vessels and sits adjacent to a planned 52-acre container terminal, aimed at attracting new cargos expected in the Gulf of Mexico linked with the ongoing expansion of the Panama Canal.