The Manatee County Port Authority today awarded a contract for a $13.6 million project expected to create 240 maritime-related construction jobs over the next year, officials said.
The project will extend the wharf of the port's shipping Berth 12, and add an adjacent, 10-acre shipping container terminal, officials said.
Authority members were also glad to hear that the state Friday approved another $2 million grant the port could match in the future in order to expand the container terminal by another 10 acres.
"Ten acres won't be enough if we get some of these bigger ships," said Carlos Buqueras, the port's executive director.
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He noted that the port "is an economic engine for the county" that does not require any ad valorem tax money.
"We generate jobs and economic activities," through trade and business development, he said.
"The intent is to create the infrastructure for the port to add extra lines and services, to attract more jobs," he said.
Port Manatee is the only port in the state currently adding new container berths, Buqueras said.