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Report: Port Tampa Bay lagging behind other Florida ports

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Port Tampa Bay is lagging behind other Florida seaports when it comes to the throughput of shipping containers, reports WFTS Tampa Bay.

Port Tampa Bay CEO Paul Anderson exuded plenty of positivity during his 2017 State of the Port address, bragging about “over 37 million tons” of containers coming in, and calling the port “the number one port in the state of Florida.”

While it is the largest port in the state, land-wise, WFTS reporter Jarrod Holbrook says Port Tampa Bay is far behind other Florida ports when it comes to the number of containers shipping out.

In 2015, the most recent year of data available from the Army Corps of Engineers, the port shipped out just under 40,000 containers compared to more than 700,000 a piece from JAXPORT, Miami and Port Everglades.

Area businesses even prefer using other ports over Port Tampa Bay.

“Being in Tampa is a disadvantage in my business,” said Omer Ozer, who along with his brother owns Stonemart, one of the biggest importers for stone and tile in Florida. The brothers say Port Tampa Bay is more expensive than other ports and it all stems from a lack of competition.

Rooms To Go, Kanes Furniture and Badcock all report shipping more out of Jacksonville than Tampa despite being much closer to Port Tampa Bay.

Still, Anderson said the port is about more than just the number of containers moving through.

“Listen we have been in a growth of our business here.  We have the most diversified port in the state of Florida,” Anderson tells WFTS. “That’s something our citizens are so happy for.  It’s like your portfolio of your 401k.”

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Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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