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Port of Panama City lands US$10M EDA grant to boost biomass storage capacity

In the United States (US), Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a US$10 million grant to the Port Authority of Panama City, Florida, to help build a new bulk storage facility at the Port of Panama City.
"The new biomass storage facility will increase the bulk cargo exporting capabilities of the Port by 300 000 tons per year and protect the Port against future extreme weather,” said Secretary Ross.

Assistant Secretary Dr John Fleming (centre) presents Panama City Port Authority leaders with a US$10 million check. This EDA investment will help build a new biomass bulk storage facility to increase the bulk cargo exporting capabilities and protect the port against extreme weather (photo courtesy US EDA).

Assistant Secretary Dr John Fleming (centre) presents Panama City Port Authority leaders with a US$10 million
check. This EDA investment will help build a new biomass bulk storage facility to increase the bulk cargo exporting capabilities and protect the port against extreme weather (photo courtesy US EDA).

Announced on July 18, 2019, the project is to be matched with US$3.2 million in state investment, is expected to create 25 jobs and generate US$70 million in private investment.

The Trump Administration is committed to helping advance locally-devised strategies designed to spur new business opportunities and promote resiliency to natural disasters. The new biomass storage facility will increase the bulk cargo exporting capabilities of the Port by 300 000 tons per year and protect the Port against future extreme weather, said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

The project will help to build the biomass bulk storage facility as well as a conveyance system that will connect it with the existing flat warehouse bulk terminal. The facility will enhance the resiliency of business operations by reducing product damages resulting from natural disasters. This will, in turn, limit interruption of exports and prevent job loss.

We thank President Trump and Secretary Ross for their continued support. This new biomass bulk facility will not only bolster the region’s economy with increased exports and new jobs and investment, but it will also make the Port of Panama City more resilient against future storms and natural disasters said Governor Ron DeSantis.

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Emerald Coast Regional Council. EDA funds the Emerald Coast Regional Council to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

I am proud to have assisted the Panama City Port Authority in urging the Department of Commerce to award them this important grant to help build a new biomass bulk storage facility. I thank Secretary Ross for awarding these funds, which represent an important investment in the local infrastructure to make the area more resilient to natural disasters. I will continue to do everything I can to assist the Florida Panhandle in their ongoing recovery from Hurricane Michael’s devastation, said Marco Senator Rubio.

This project is funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 115-123) (PDF), in which Congress appropriated to EDA $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) funds for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, wildfires and other calendar year 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.

The work being done at Florida’s ports will build on our state’s success as a national and global leader for shipping and logistics. The US$10 million EDA grant for the Port of Panama City’s expansion will help support more jobs for local families, continue to expand North Florida’s economy, and better position the community for future storms said Senator Rick Scott.

Enviva’s Cottondale facility began production in April 2008 and was acquired by Enviva Partners, LP as part of the acquisition of Green Circle Bioenergy, Inc. in January 2015. Pellets produced at Enviva’s Cottondale plant are currently exported from Port of Panama City (photo courtesy Port of Panama City).

I’m grateful for the leadership of the Trump Administration and Secretary Ross as we secured this funding to improve the Port of Panama City’s capacity to store biomass generated by the North Florida timber industry. This is just another example of the rebuilding process and another signal that the Panhandle is open for business, said Congressman Neal Dunn (FL-02).

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