Grants Fund Security Boosts at Port Manatee

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY AUG 12, 2019

As Port Manatee’s size and reputation have grown, so have security needs. But a new $1.4 million federal investment should enhance both safety and efficiency at the Palmetto facility.

“It is very important that we keep port security updated not only to be able to help our customers but also to keep our Port safe,” said Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, Port Manatee Port Authority chair.

A federal grant of $1,425,000, matched with $475,000 in local funding, will move forward three projects at the port. A full $1 million will go toward expanding the south security gate into a full-service complex. The gate will now have four lanes and the capacity to handle a full spectrum of transactions.

This comes on top of Port Manatee working on similar upgrades to the north security gate complex. Some $1.7 million in prior federal grants supported that wave of projects.

“Since initial installation of the present port security system in 2010, Port Manatee’s gate activity has tripled, to the current annual pace of 750,000 transactions,” said David St. Pierre, public safety and security director. “These grant monies, along with federal awards in preceding years, allow Port Manatee to stay at the leading edge of port security while accommodating escalating amounts of cargo.”

Another $750,000 will go toward upgrading technology, including new video and access controls to use a common operating platform, as well as modernizing all software. The final $150,000 will go to upgrade existing emergency alarm systems. Port officials say the grant requires all those upgrades to be completed within a three-year time.

Officials say in addition to providing general security, the upgrades all help keep the port in a leadership role compared to other facilities.

“Our Port Security team travels to different ports in the Americas teaching other security teams the best techniques,” Baugh said. “We are proud to be known as having one of the best security departments in the nation.”

Photo courtesy Port Manatee: Entry gates to Palmetto facilities will see significant upgrades.

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