SeaPort Manatee appreciates the hundreds of professional drivers who move goods in and out of the Florida Gulf Coast trade gateway – and the truckers in turn are grateful for the seaport – as demonstrated during the port’s eighth annual Trucker Appreciation Day celebration.

Joined by representatives of the Florida Department of Transportation and numerous event sponsors, SeaPort Manatee offered complimentary lunches and giveaway items to truckers outside the port’s main entrance complex on Sept. 15, culminating National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.

“People here are friendly, and they are responsive,” said Jim Rogers, who has been a professional truck driver for 32 years.

“It’s a good place to load, get cargo and come back to,” added Rogers, a driver for Landmark Services, who said he recently has been coming to SeaPort Manatee on nearly a daily basis to pick up truckloads of aggregate construction materials.

SeaPort Manatee’s Trucker Appreciation Day sponsors included Agunsa Manatee Terminal, Ash Grove Cement Co., Kinder Morgan Port Manatee Terminal LLC, LOGISTEC USA Inc., Manatee Truck and Trailer Wash, Port Manatee Propeller Club, Sun State International truck dealership, TransMontaigne Terminals LLC and World Direct Shipping.

Others donating such giveaway items as sunglasses to caps included 75 Chrome Shop, Callaghan Tire, Florida Department of Transportation, Indian River Transport, International Used Truck Centers. Pro Transport, Riggin’ It Trail Rides and Right Truck Right Now.

“SeaPort Manatee is deeply appreciative of the dedicated professional drivers who keep the supply chain moving in a safe, efficient manner,” said James Satcher, chairman of the Manatee County Port Authority. “We are privileged to each year join with FDOT and industry partners in sharing our gratitude with the trucker community through this event.”

Located “Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico,” SeaPort Manatee is a dynamic global trade hub, serving as the vibrant ships-to-shelves gateway for burgeoning Southwest and Central Florida markets, with convenient rail and roadway links, including to the distribution-center-filled Tampa/Orlando Interstate 4 corridor. The closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanded Panama Canal, SeaPort Manatee offers 10 deep-draft berths, proficiently fulfilling diverse demands of container, liquid and dry bulk, breakbulk, heavylift, project and general cargo customers. The self-sustaining port generates more than $5.1 billion in annual economic impacts while providing for more than 37,000 direct and indirect jobs – all without benefit of local property tax support.

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During SeaPort Manatee’s Sept. 15 celebration of Trucker Appreciation Day, Landmark Services driver Jim Rogers, left, checks out an event T-shirt with Amanda Tyner, Florida Department of Transportation District 1 freight and seaport coordinator.