Port of Tampa Bay, Florida

  • Port of Tampa Bay Photo 1
  • Port of Tampa Bay Photo 2

Also serving Port Manatee, Florida

2028 Shepherd Rd #402
Mulberry, Florida. 33860-8699

Phone:  (813) 348-1481
Fax:       (813) 348-1400
E-mail:  tpa@fillettegreen.com

The Port of Tampa Bay, renamed in January 2014 from the Port of Tampa, is the largest port in the state of Florida.  The port operations are overseen by the Tampa Port Authority.  Located on the western shores of Florida on the most eastern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the port is 28 miles inland from open waters.  The Port of Tampa currently ranks at the 16th largest U.S. port by tonnage. 

The Port of Tampa Bay serves liquid and dry bulk, Ro-Ro, container and cruise vessels.  Tampa is the most popular departure ports for western Caribbean cruises.  There are four (4) cruise lines sailing direct from Tampa.  These are Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Holland America and Norwegian Cruise Lines.  There are three (3) terminals that serve the cruise industry.

The  Port of Tampa Bay is located at latitude 27.36 N and longitude 82.45W. The Port of Tampa Bay is a sheltered harbor located on Tampa, a large natural indentation of the Gulf of Mexico, some 35 miles from open sea.  Within the boundaries of the port district are included parts of Tampa Bay, Hillsborough River and Old Tampa Bay. 

Tampa Bay extends northeasterly from the Gulf o Mexico for a distance of about 20 miles and is about 7 miles wide at its widest point.  Hillsborough Bay, at the north-eastern end of Tampa Bay is about 9 miles long and 4.5 miles wide..  The City of Tampa is located on the Hillsborough River at the head of Hillsborough Bay, 41 miles from the  Gulf of Mexico.  Old Tampa Bay is about 13 miles long, with an average of 6 miles.


Vessels with good ground tackle can anchor anywhere offshore outside the bay in 6 to 8 fathoms. Internal anchorages are available inside the entrance. An anchorage east of Egmont, and an anchorage located south of Gadsden Point Cut.

Pilotage and Ship’s Agents

All foreign-flag vessels drawing 7 feet or more draft must use a State Licensed pilot unless a deck officer qualified on the Port of Tampa is aboard off Egmont Key. Twenty-four hour reservations are required. All foreign-flag vessels entering the Port of Tampa must use a shipping agent that is licensed by the Port of Tampa.

Tides and Tidal Currents

The mean range of tides is 13 feet at the lower end of the bay, 1.6 feet at Port Tampa and 1.8 feet at Tampa. Extreme range is about 3.8 feet at the lower end of the bay and 4.8 feet at Tampa. Strong southwesterly winds raise the water level about 1.5 feet. Strong northerly winds, which usually arise in winter< lower the water levels by about 2 feet. In the entrance of Tampa Bay, tidal currents usually have considerable velocity.


The Sunshine Skyway Bridge spans lower Tampa Bay. The bridge has a vertical clearance of 175 feet. The central span is 875 feet at the extreme width of the protective islands at bay bottom. This is the only bridge span of interest to the commercial maritime community.


All grades and types of bunker ¡°C¡± with delivery by pipeline, barge or truck are available.

General Information

Port Tampa Bay's longstanding supremacy among Florida ports is based largely on its leadership in handling of bulk and break©\bulk cargos, including phosphate, steel and petroleum, as well as in the shipbuilding industry. Port Tampa Bay over the past decade has impressively advanced its container©\handling capabilities and seen a rapid growth in regional distribution facilities. Handling more than 34 million tons of cargo in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2011 ¨C nearly 40 percent of all cargo moving in and out of the state of Florida. This embraces virtually every imaginable commodity, including vehicles and oversized project cargos, from all corners of the world. Top trade partners include India, Mexico, Brazil, Trinidad, Canada, Russia, Australia, Japan, Argentina and Turkey. At the same time, the Port of Tampa has emerged among the top eight U.S. cruise ports, smoothly handling nearly 1 million passenger moves a year.

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