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Monday, Oct 20, 2014
Business News

Port board moves toward update of master plan

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TAMPA — New cross-country petroleum pipelines, an evolving container cargo supply chain, the expansion of the Panama Canal, and increasing global and regional competition: These factors and more could reshape Port Tampa Bay’s strategies through 2030, a consultant told Tampa Port Authority board members Tuesday.

Following the presentation by Jim Brennan of Norbridge Inc.’s Washington, D.C. office, the Tampa Port Authority board approved in concept a year-long project to update the port’s long-range master and strategic plans.

A team of five consulting firms will work on the planning project whose contract and costs will be determined at the March board meeting.

“Global change will affect the Port of Tampa,” Brennan said.

The consultant provided a glimpse into dynamics that will be studied in detail to provide the board with information to formulate changes to keep Port Tampa Bay competitive.

Those include rapidly evolving energy chains as the United States tries to head toward energy self-sufficiency, including a prospect of a “Transgulf Pipeline,” between Texas and Louisiana oil refineries and Tampa.

The container cargo segment also brings uncertainty along with promise. Three major container shipping lines earned a profit during the first three quarters of 2013, while eight more lost money. The industry lost $8.3 billion from 2009 through 2012.

Just how new dynamics might play out and affect Port Tampa Bay will be a focus of the updated plans, which board member Larry Shipp characterized as “livable plans as the world changes.”

The Florida Legislature has mandated the state’s ports provide plans that will be integrated and into a statewide seaport plan, Port Tampa Bay President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Anderson said.

tjackovics@tampatrib.com

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