A historic deepening project at Port Tampa Bay will impact the entire state as the Tampa Bay area continues to be among the top 10 fastest growing metros in the country.
Florida’s largest port is now able to support bigger ships after Great Lakes Dredge & Docks Company recently dredged the Big Bend Channel.
Port Tampa Bay already supports 85,000 jobs and generates more than $18 billion in annual economic impact. This expansion means more job opportunities and additional money into the economy, according to Port Tampa Bay CEO Paul Anderson.
“You bring deeper water, wider channel, larger ships, it creates more jobs, more tax revenue, more economic impact,” Anderson said.
The project to deepen and widen Big Bend Channel was two decades in the making, took six months to finish and wrapped up a year ahead of schedule, according to port officials.
The channel is just east of MacDill Air Force Base offshore of Port Redwing and the TECO Big Bend Station in southern Hillsborough County.
Nearly 40 percent of fuel in Florida already comes through Port Tampa Bay and that activity is set to increase as the area explodes with growth.
The Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater region is now the 9th fastest-growing metro area in country, according to new census data.
Anderson said companies like TECO and Mosiac will now have the opportunity to create more jobs while utilizing the larger channel.
The Port Redwing area will be reshaped into a major distribution and warehouse district, which will continue moving goods through the I-4 corridor.
The project was also used to make an environmental impact.
“We moved and dredged over 3 million cubic yards of dredge material onto an island where we have bird nesting,” Anderson said.
Port officials said the $63 million project was paid for through funding from the US Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Transportation, Port Tampa Bay and the two largest port users, Mosiac and TECO.