Port Tampa Bay

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Port Tampa Bay
Carnival Inspiration at port in Tampa FL.jpg
The Carnival Inspiration docked at Port Tampa Bay.
Country United States
Location Tampa
Opened 1924
Operated by Tampa Port Authority
Type of harbor Natural/Artificial
Size appx. 5,000 acres
Channel depth 43 feet
Vessel arrivals 1,589 (FY2014)
Annual cargo tonnage 6,890,250 (FY2014)
Annual container volume 42,198 TEUs (FY2013); 197,818 tons (FY2014)
Value of cargo $5 billion (2012)
Passenger traffic 854,260 (FY2013)
Main exports phosphate, fertilizer
Main imports petroleum products, steel

Port Tampa Bay, formerly known as the Port of Tampa, is the largest port in the state of Florida and has its operation overseen by the Tampa Port Authority. The port is located on the western coast or Suncoast of Florida, approximately 25 miles from open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The boundaries of the Port district includes parts of Tampa Bay, Hillsborough Bay, McKay Bay, Old Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough River. The port serves container ships and cruise lines. It is located in Tampa's Channel District. The port's name was changed to Port Tampa Bay in January 2014.

Port Tampa Bay currently ranks 16th in the United States by tonnage, and first in Florida.[1] Cargo shipping includes bulk and tanker ships, as well as roll-on/roll-off ships and container cargo ships. The port additionally operates ship repair facilities. Currently connected to major Asian container ports, with global connections, the port is focused on growing its container trade. Millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements are underway or in the planning phase.

Cargo shipping[edit]

Weekly containerized cargo service is available at Port Tampa Bay. Ports America operates two container berths, three gantry cranes, a 100 ton Mobile Harbor Crane and a container terminal. Zim American Integrated Shipping Company has been providing global connections to Port Tampa Bay for the past ten years. MSC has recently partnered with Zim on a joint service connecting Port Tampa Bay to an additional global network. The port's longest running container carrier Tropical Shipping recently ceased operations at Port Tampa Bay. Horizon Lines also made a short lived attempt to provide service to the port but quickly pulled the plug. Currently 3,000 to 4,250 TEU containerships regularly call Port Tampa Bay.

The port is also home to Foreign Trade Zone #79. Foreign Trade Zone No. 79 assists companies in Tampa Bay and along the I-4 Corridor in importing, exporting, manufacturing, and distribution activities.

View of a portion of Port Tampa Bay from Davis Islands, Downtown Tampa background left.
Part of the series on
Florida Ports
Port Tampa Bay

Port of Apalachicola
Port Canaveral
Port of Cedar Key
Port Everglades
Port Fernandina
Port of Indian Key
Port of Jacksonville
Port of Key West
Port Manatee
Port of Miami
Port of New Smyrna
Port of Palatka
Port of Palm Beach
Port of Panama City
Port of Pensacola
Port St. Joe
Port of St. Andrews
Port of St. Augustine
Port of St. Marks
Port of Ft. Pierce
Port of St. Petersburg
Port Tampa Bay

Wikipedia:WikiProject Florida

Cruise ships[edit]

Carnival Legend cruise ship returning to Port Tampa Bay

Tampa is also one of America's most popular departure ports for western Caribbean cruises. Four cruise lines sail from the port: Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Holland America Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line. The cruise port has been growing since the 1990s. It has 3 cruise terminals. Nearby attractions include Channelside, The Florida Aquarium, and Ybor City.


The cruise terminal and port headquarters are located along Channelside Drive.[2][3] The nearest major highway to the port is the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, which runs along the northern edge of the port. Elevated, reversible lanes on the expressway run from Meridian Avenue (three blocks west of the cruise terminal) to Interstate 75 and the suburb of Brandon.

A significant amount of truck traffic to/from the port travels from Interstate 4, down along the urban streets of Ybor City, one of just two National Historic Districts in Florida.[4] The Interstate 4 – Selmon Expressway Connector is a 1.1-mile (1.8 km) highway which has exclusive truck lanes to route truck traffic from Interstate 4 directly to Port Tampa Bay, allowing thousands of trucks each day to bypass Ybor City and travel directly between the Port and interstate system.[4][5][6] The connector is expected to be completed in late 2013.[4]

Carnival Inspiration at port in Tampa.


Since Tampa Bay was first spotted by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, sailors have admired its wide, sheltered beauty. However, its shallow nature has always presented a navigability problem; the bay is less than 30 feet (9.1 m) deep almost everywhere and considerably less than that in many places near the coast, including the approach to the city of Tampa.[7] By the late 19th century, typical cargo ships had grown large enough that they were not able to navigate upper Tampa Bay and reach the ports of Tampa at all.

In 1899 however, the U.S. Congress authorized the dredging of a 27' deep channel to Port Tampa, Henry Plant's rail-to-ship facility just west of Tampa. In 1917 another channel was dredged out to the Port of Tampa proper, instantly making Tampa an important shipping location.[8]


  1. ^ "U.S. Port Ranking by Cargo Volume 2006". American Association of Port Authorities. Retrieved 2009-01-27. [dead link]
  2. ^ "About the Tampa Port Authority". Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Tampa Cruise Terminal". Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "I-4 / Selmon Expressway Connector (new road)". Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Transportation Recovery-Interstate 4/Selmon Expressway Connector". Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Judy, Scott. "Tampa's Elevated Connector Tests the Team". Engineering News-Record. McGraw Hill. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  7. ^ http://dl.nwrc.gov/net_prod_download/public/gom_net_pub_products/MAP/1879chart_tampa.jpg
  8. ^ "Corps, Port Consider Channel Widening Options". Baysoundings.com. Retrieved 2011-04-17. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Port Tampa Bay at Wikimedia Commons