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

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

Holt said he has declined overtures for engagement from a number of ports in the United States and Canada and said there “were enough parts here” that the project to develop the port could be successful.

“It has been a successful operation in the past; you have a great local partner in the St. Joe Company. It’s really fortunate to have a company like St. Joe. It’s a flag we can wave and I think St. Joe is a good calling card. It lends gravitas to any conversation you have.”

A bulk port is likely the most advantageous route, Holt said. He also said his team was not looking for a company seeking to get into the port business, but rather an investor which has 65 port terminals around the country or globe and is looking for No. 66.

“It is a bulk opportunity,” Holt said. “The depth (of the shipping channel) doesn’t allow for much else. There is also a rail line going out the back (of the port property) and that is a good thing.”

The Bank of Montreal, he added, has a significant stable of clients it can reach.

When an investor is ready to enter the port, Holt said, would be the time to reach out to state and federal agencies to deploy their resources – expediting permitting, for example, or dredging of shipping lanes and channels by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The case can then be made to those governmental agencies, this company is coming in, will invest a specific number of dollars and the Port of Port St. Joe needs these promises and actions from government, Holt said.

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