~BOM director sketches port potential, roadblocks to Port Authority~

Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 10:02 AM.

Port development won’t come overnight but “the pieces are there.”

That was the message delivered last week to the Port Authority of Port St. Joe by Jeff Holt, Managing Director for Infrastructure Banking for the Bank of Montreal.

The Bank of Montreal was formally hired several months ago by the St. Joe Company to assist in the development of the Port of Port St. Joe.

“We are already deeply engaged and we have been for several months,” Holt said after the meeting. “We’re in for the long run and we know what it takes.”

Holt, with more than 30 years in investment banking, said a visit to the area roughly six months ago convinced him that there was potential at the Port of Port St. Joe, which at several points in its history has been an operating port but is now considered a blank greenfield slate.

“We got to like the assets a lot,” Holt said of what he called the regional “gateway” that is the Port of Port St. Joe. “We liked the gateway. That does not go away.

“We like what we see. You have all the pieces. We have to get the interest back.”

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