PORT MANATEE -- Over 1,000 truckloads of gasoline bound for RaceTrac fuel stations in nine southwest Florida counties will generate approximately $780,000 for the port in 2016.
Starting last fall, fuel bound for 30 of the company's stations started flowing through the port. Between October and December, 420,319 barrels of gasoline arrived at Port Manatee's berths to be offloaded to a fuel tank farm operated by Denver-based fuel supplier TransMontaigne. Trucks also brought in about 75,000 barrels of gasoline and ethanol during that period, port officials said.
TransMontaigne blends ethanol with gasoline at its Port Manatee facility before pumping it into RaceTrac-bound tanker trucks.
The income the port is generating is significant to its bottom line. Overall, the port has budgeted to bring in $11.3 million during the 2015-16 fiscal year.
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Carlos Buqueras, the port's director, said the new line of business "represents a new and exciting stream of revenue." It also comes with little investment on the port's part, as it did not have to build any storage facilities, as it does for the bulk cargo, fruit and other commodities.
Vehicle fuel is also a steadier income source than some cargos, as there is a steady demand for it year round.
"It is more predictable, because it's tied to consumption," Buqueras said.
The port has previously been in the vehicle fuel business, but shipped relatively little of the commodity through its berths and gates for several years. An agreement signed with TransMontaigne makes the port the official fuel transfer hub for RaceTrac stations in an area that includes Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, Highland, Okeechobee and Charlotte counties.
According to a news release published by the port Tuesday, Port Manatee has a diversified petroleum profile. Fuel depoted at the port also goes to Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores locations in Southwest Florida, and tanks at the port hold No. 6 fuel oil as a backup supply for Florida Power & Light Co.'s Manatee Power Plant in Parrish.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027 or on Twitter@MattAtBradenton.