Investor Spotlight: Port Tampa Bay

May 21, 2018

Port Tampa Bay

Port Tampa Bay has long been recognized in the shipping industry for its handling of bulk and break-bulk cargos, including phosphate, steel and petroleum, as well as its leadership in the shipbuilding industry. Over the past decade, Port Tampa Bay has advanced its container-handling capabilities and seen a rapid growth in regional distribution facilities. The Port handles more than 38 million tons of cargo a year and counts Brazil, Trinidad, Mexico, Honduras, Canada, India, Japan, Colombia, China, and Venezuela among its top trade partners. One of the top eight U.S. cruise ports, Port Tampa Bay welcomes nearly $1 million cruise passengers each year.

Paul Anderson joined Port Tampa Bay as President/CEO in December 2012 after having served in several high-profile public and private sector leadership positions for the last three decades including former Federal Maritime Commissioner, a presidential appointee. Anderson was re-elected and served for a second term as the Chairman of the Florida Ports Council by his fellow Florida port directors in 2017. He also holds multiple national leadership positions, including serving as a board member of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) and Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC).  We sat down with Mr. Anderson to talk about all the exciting growth at the Port.

From your perspective, what aspects make Tampa and Hillsborough County such an attractive location for companies and talent?
Well look around – that’s kind of easy right?  The same reasons our residents enjoy living here have a lot to do with why they like working here as well.  Tampa and Hillsborough County are at the epicenter of the exploding growth and development. As for Port Tampa Bay, like all great American cities, Tampa grew up around a harbor, bay, or river – and ports were typically the major contributing economic driver for those cities. We are a great asset as an economic generator, facilitator for trade, and creator of job clusters for both traditional, blue collar tradespeople such as welders and pipe fitters as well as maritime-related managers and professionals (attorneys, CPAs, engineers, etc). We have a great maritime community surrounding the Port in Hillsborough County. The Port directly affects consumers on the retail side as well through the companies that import their cargo here.

What do you regard as the biggest win for our community in the past few years?
We’ve had a number of great companies expand or relocate here, so it’s hard to single out one. Tampa Tank and Structural Steel is now exporting fabricated and manufactured steel products, such as large bridges or highway and interstate system components. Tampa Tank is a company with a rich, 65-year history here, and they’ve chosen to continue to grow at Port Redwing. They’re aligning themselves with partners that will attract national and international attention as a result of the growth we’re fostering in our local manufacturing industry. I would also mention that Port Logistics Refrigerated Services, a brand-new state of the art, 135,000 square foot cold storage facility, is now taking its first shipments of perishables – another big, long-term asset that will create more jobs in the coming months and years.

How does the Port impact the business culture of Tampa and Hillsborough County?
Port Tampa Bay is a significant economic engine for Tampa, Hillsborough County, and the entire region, with over $17.2 billion in economic impact and more than 85,000 direct, indirect and related jobs. The port affects a variety of jobs in the community, from white-collar professional services to trucking and welding. Port Tampa Bay also connects Tampa and Hillsborough County to more than 200 distribution centers within 100 miles and is a significant entry point for steel and other building materials serving the explosive growth throughout Hillsborough and the Central Florida region. This creates and sustains a global connection for companies and consumers.

Why is participating as an Investor in the EDC important to you and to the Port?
I think it is vitally important for a community’s businesses and government to be in unison on its desire to grow. Our introduction to the other businesses that are fully invested in the future of Tampa and Hillsborough County, as well as their introduction to us, is extremely important.  Companies who are interested in growing here will optimize their opportunity, in my opinion, by engaging in and collaborating with other EDC Investors. Like the Port in our mission to attract global shipping interests and cargos, the EDC is introducing this community to global, international companies that are looking to do business in the United States, with Tampa and Hillsborough County as a gateway. We truly feel as though we are all partners, working together to grow the local economy.