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  May 17th, 2016 | Written by

Port Panama City Doubles Capacity with 41-Acre Acquisition

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  • Exports of paper and wood pellets helped propel Port Panama City to a record year in 2015.
  • Port Panama City director: Forest products terminal project positions port to handle sustained growth for years to come.
  • Port Panama City acquired 41 acres with financing through the Fla. Department of Transportation infrastructure bank.

With development of a modern forest products terminal on a newly acquired 41-acre waterfront tract, Port Panama City is setting a course to double its throughput capability.

The U.S. Gulf Coast port on the Florida panhandle acquired the 41 acres of mostly vacant land earlier this month from WestRock Co., which plans to continue to operate its corrugated packaging mill on an adjoining property.

Port Panama City’s plans call for development of a state-of-the-industry forest products terminal, including a 250,000-square-foot warehouse for woodpulp, kraft linerboard, and related goods. The terminal also is to feature a 48-car-capacity rail yard, a refurbished 38-foot-draft berthing area with reinforced bulkhead and a 10-acre laydown area, according to Wayne Stubbs, the port’s executive director.

“Exports of paper and wood pellets helped propel Port Panama City to a record year in 2015, with more than 2 million tons of cargo moving across our docks,” Stubbs said. “This acquisition and terminal project position our port to handle sustained growth for many years to come.”

Port Panama City acquired the 41 acres for $13.6 million, financed through the Florida Department of Transportation State Infrastructure Bank, and has secured an option to buy 27 more acres for another $6 million.

With support of $4.25 million in FDOT grant funding, the port is proceeding with $12 million of first-phase forest products terminal projects. An additional $9 million, half from FDOT, is earmarked for bulkhead work and rail and roadway improvements.

In addition, a $10 million endeavor, half federally funded, to deepen the channel serving the facility to 38 feet from 32 feet has gained U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approval.

Longtime shippers of forest products via Port Panama City are enthusiastic.

Donald R. Crisp, chairman of the Panama City Port Authority, noted that the new terminal should facilitate creation of nearly 200 direct and indirect jobs and produce an annual economic benefit of more than $125 million.

Port Panama City is a diverse Gulf Coast seaport located on the Florida Panhandle, providing an ideal U.S. Southeast gateway for forest products and other breakbulk, bulk and containerized cargoes.