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Mosaic unveils massive warehouse at Gibsonton site

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image The warehouse is expected to ship between 1.2 and 1.5 million tons of fertilizer a year. Photo courtesy of Mosaic

The new warehouse makes the Gibsonton site a world-class terminal.

The sheer dimensions of The Mosaic Company’s newest warehouse in Gibsonton are enough to make a math whiz reach for his calculator.

If the tallest building in Tampa, 100 North Tampa, were laid on its side, it would fit twice inside the warehouse with plenty of space to spare. With a 5.4-acre footprint and occupying 23,339,800 cubic feet — almost enough to accommodate Kanye West’s ego — the warehouse could hold three football fields or more than 53,000 average-sized cars stacked on top of each other.

“In America and Tampa Bay, we dream big, and here at Mosaic, they dream big, too,” said Della Curry, an aide to Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman, who represents the area.

The warehouse is an important project for South County and Mosaic,” Curry said. “But it will also strengthen the Port of Tampa’s role as one of the leading fertilizer ports in America.”

The port generates an annual income of $15.1 billion, supporting 80,000 jobs, more than half of which are phosphate related, Curry said. “This warehouse symbolizes Mosaic’s deep commitment to the port and the South County region. As Mosaic grows, the port grows with it.”

Shipping across the globe, the new warehouse will move between 1.2 and 1.5 million tons of fertilizer per year.

One of the largest agrochemical companies in the world, with mines in Central Florida and North Carolina, Mosaic provides fertilizer to farmers in 40 countries. Most of the fertilizer used in the U.S. comes from Florida phosphate mines, much of it mined by Mosaic in Polk County.

Sitting on 220 acres off U.S. 41, the Big Bend Marine Terminal was built in 1975. Work on the multimillion-dollar warehouse began 18 months ago. Company officials would not disclose the project’s cost.

While the terminal has a rich history, the new warehouse represents a rebirth, said Rich Krakowski, vice president of the company’s supply chain.

“A little over two years ago, due to some mine challenges, this facility went through a tough period,” Krakowski said. “We had to curtail operations because we couldn’t move rock across the Gulf, but the confidence in this facility never wavered.” 

The new warehouse makes the Gibsonton site a worldclass terminal, he said. “There are many people to thank, but it’s really a testimonial to all the employees here who got through that period. As the warehouse was being built it created a lot of temporary jobs in the area, and now we are back to a facility that employs 25 people.”

The warehouse will allow Mosaic to consolidate receiving, warehousing and shipping facilities for raw materials, improve control of the quality of that product, improve and diversify shipping and receiving, and reduce costs.

The unveiling of the warehouse is “a culmination of the strategy and persistence to get this facility up and running,” Krakowski said.

The 110,000-ton Gibsonton warehouse contains eight bays, six of which can handle 10,000 tons of fertilizer. The other two can store up to 25,000 tons each. With an existing warehouse on the site, the terminal can store up to 140,000 tons at one time.

“This is an important project for Mosaic and something we can be really proud of,” said Joc O’Rourke, executive vice president of operations.

“If we are going to meet our mission to help the world grow the food it needs, we have to be excellent in all facets, and that includes our supply chain, and this is a real step toward that.”

Mosaic also recently put the finishing touches on a $4.5 million wetlands restoration project at two plots along U.S. 41 in Gibsonton.

Work on 10 acres of mangroves restoration and new oyster reefs, part one of the project, started last July at Giant’s Camp, a stone’s throw from the Alafia River Bridge on U.S. 41. Part two, a similar project just north of the Giant’s Camp on U.S. 41, began last fall.

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