The Port of Tampa is planning to tear down its ailing 35-year-old Harborside cold storage facility and concentrate on container cargo rather than breakbulk perishables.
“We looked at the merits of trying to extend the building’s life,” said Wade Elliott, the port’s senior director of marketing, but the $3.8 million cost was not justified by the seasonal melon business that is the only cargo currently moving through the 94,000-square-foot facility. During the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, Tampa handled about 35,000 tons of seasonal melons. The reefer trade peaked in fiscal year 1997, when the port handled some 322,000 tons of various perishables.
Instead of pursuing breakbulk perishables, Elliott said, the port is adding 52 reefer plugs to the 50 existing at its container terminal, which will be expanded from 25 acres to 40 by November. Eventually, Elliott said, the container terminal will cover 160 acres, including the space where Harborside now stands. As the container business expands, the port will add more reefer plugs, he said.
The Port of Tampa has also approved a lease agreement with Cutrale Citrus Juices USA for a bulk orange juice storage and distribution facility. The company will handle exports of not-from-concentrate juice using terminal facilities at Tampa’s Berth 205.
Fresh Quest, the importer using Harborside, is talking with Port Manatee, also on Tampa Bay, about handling its seasonal melon business, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
Contact Janet Nodar at email@example.com.