Leaders of Port Tampa Bay and the hemispherewide American Association of Port Authorities gushed with enthusiasm today [Jan. 29] in opening the AAPA’s 13th annual Shifting Trade Conference in Tampa, Florida.
“We have had an incredible 12 months since we last gathered at Shifting Trade,” said A. Paul Anderson, who is beginning his eighth year as Port Tampa Bay’s president and chief executive officer.
Anderson noted that, the week of the January 2019 conference, Port Tampa Bay welcome the inaugural call by COSCO Shipping’s Gulf of Mexico Express service, sailing direct from Asia via the Panama Canal. In June of last year, CMA CGM added Tampa to its PEX 3 service from Asia, and, in September, longstanding Port Tampa Bay carrier partner ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. joined with Mediterranean Shipping Co. and Maersk to launch a new Asia-Gulf service calling Tampa.
“The expansion of the Panama Canal has made our growth at Port Tampa Bay possible,” Anderson said, citing the port’s three new weekly direct Asian services through the canal, expansion of which was completed in 2016.
Indeed, it was the canal expansion project that prompted the initiation of the AAPA’s Tampa gathering in 2008 by Richard Wainio, a former Panama Canal executive who at the time was chief executive officer and port director of the Tampa Port Authority.
Anderson added that further Port Tampa Bay growth is in the works.
“Together with our tenants, customers and terminal partners, we have significant investment plans which will expand our facilities to accommodate new and expanded lines of business across the spectrum of containers and refrigerated cargo, breakbulk, bulk, cruise and mixed-use real estate,” Anderson said. “Working closely with our container terminal partner, Ports America, we are currently expanding our container terminal, which will more than double our capacity; the first phase will be completed this summer.
“Trade is truly today’s currency of the world,” he added, “and it is more so today than ever.”
Christopher J. “Chris” Connor, the former Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics senior executive who last fall became the AAPA’s president and chief executive officer, commented, “The vast numbers of jobs, dollars, cargo tons, cruise passengers and tax revenues associated with port activities is a testament to the overall value and importance of our seaports.
“These impacts,” Connor continued, “underscore the need by every level of government to increase the priority of investing into their public ports and, particularly, into the infrastructure these ports depend on to flourish, grow and compete.”
The Jan. 29-30 Tampa conference is the first of eight AAPA education and training programs scheduled this year.
Comprehensive coverage of the conference, including reception photos, is slated to appear in print in the Feb. 24 Florida ports edition of AJOT.
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