“This crane represents the future of Port Manatee,” said Manatee County Port Authority Chairman Joe McClash. “Its arrival puts us in a position to attract new containerised services, which could dramatically increase port revenues and provide for the economic vitality of Manatee County.”
The port currently handles a modest number of containers, but officials expect to eventually handle up to 600,000 boxes a year.
The crane’s arrival comes just as Del Monte’s five-year contract with the port authority is up for renewal. Delivering the crane was a Del Monte prerequisite to renew the agreement for an additional five years.
“The new crane gives us more flexibility in what we do and what we load and how we work with containers,” said Brian Giuliani, Del Monte’s Port Manatee port manager.
The crane was purchased through a public-private partnership with Logistec USA and the Florida Department of Transportation. Originally expected to take up to five weeks to assemble, the crane was certified operational in three weeks and successfully handled its first container just five days later. Port officials are planning an official dedication for the crane on January 22, 2008.