Port Everglades rallies with year-end increases
Broward County's Port Everglades is celebrating its third consecutive year of growth in cargo and the number of multi-day cruise passengers, according to the South Florida seaport’s preliminary reports for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012.
“We’re seeing a robust upward trend in the Port’s two largest business sectors, cargo and cruise, that further indicates higher consumer confidence and positive economic benefits for the South Florida region,” says Port Everglades Chief Executive & Port Director Steven Cernak. “As a self-supporting seaport, we’re committed to boosting long-term growth by investing in the Port’s resources to make infrastructure improvements that will help our customers expand their businesses and create new jobs.”
Port Everglades is undergoing three major capital improvement projects totaling more than $500 million to increase cargo business by adding five new berths, deepening its navigational channels to 50 feet and bringing intermodal freight rail on to Port property with its partner Florida East Coast Railway. These improvements, which are expected to be completed by 2017, are estimated to create 7,000 new regional jobs and support 135,000 new jobs statewide when operating at full capacity.
Cargo Business Rebounding
FY 2012 containerized cargo tonnage increased almost 3 percent from FY2011, reaching 5,944,513 tons, and 923, 600 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) were moved through the port, an increase of approximately 5 percent over FY2011, returning Port Everglades to near the record levels that it enjoyed in 2008 (985,000 TEUs), prior to the global economic downturn. Bulk and break bulk cargoes, typically used in construction, also rose in FY2012 over the prior fiscal year, by 83 percent and 27 percent, respectively, with notable increases in cement and steel rebar.
Port officials credit existing customers at Port Everglades for the cargo increases. In addition, two new heavy equipment shipping services, Naviera Master Line de Venezuela C.A. and Panamanian ocean shipping company, SC Line, began service between Port Everglades and Colombia and other Latin American countries.
“A landlord port is only as good as its customers, and our FY2012 performance shows that our customers are working hard to bring cargo and the economic benefits that come with it to Port Everglades and to Broward County,” said Michael Vanderbeek, Port Everglades Director of Business Development.
Overall, waterborne commerce, which includes all of the Port’s revenue-generating marine activity remained steady at 22 million tons. Non-marine activity such as real estate leases and parking also contributed to the Port’s bottom line, but is not included as waterborne commerce.