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Port of Tampa to tear down Harborside cold storage warehouse

July 21, 2009July 21, 2009

The Port of Tampa is planning to tear down its ailing 35-year-old Harborside cold storage facility and concentrate on containerized rather than breakbulk perishables. We looked at the merits of trying to extend the buildings life, said Wade Elliott, the ports 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 September 30 Tampa handled about 35,000 tons of seasonal melons. The reefer trade peaked back 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 already extant on 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 continue to add more reefer plugs.

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 Tampas berth 205.  

Fresh Quest, the importer that has been using Harborside, is now talking with Port Manatee, also on Tampa Bay, about handling its seasonal melon business, according to the St. Petersburg Times.


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