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Port Miami and Port Canaveral Undergoing Major Expansions

James W. Shindell

Port Miami and Port Canaveral, two of the busiest ports in Florida, are preparing to get busier as both equip to undergo major expansion projects.  The current endeavor that plans to widen and deepen the Panama Canal is slated to be completed at the end of 2015. The Port of Miami is making changes so that it can accommodate the bigger ships that will then be able to pass through the canal.

In addition to the soon-to-be-completed Port Tunnel, other undertakings include a deep dredge project to deepen the Port’s current channel, restoring rail service between the Port and the Hialeah Rail Yard, increasing the number of its larger-capacity Super Post-Panamax cranes (which will allow the Port to service larger ships with increased speed and efficiency) and an operation to strengthen, improve, and deepen many of its wharfs.  All together, Port Miami’s improvements to both its cargo and cruise business exceed $2 billion.

With Port Miami being the world’s busiest cruise port, Port Canaveral is the fastest-growing cruise port in Florida and has the largest fleet of year-round ships.  Its cruise business has been steadily increasing every year since 2011, composing 80% of its revenue.  And, while it is primarily a cruise port, Port Canaveral is vigorously working toward increasing its cargo business, which is currently only bringing in $4 million annually.  Projects currently in the works include widening and deepening Port Canaveral’s harbor to accommodate larger ships, acquiring new cranes, constructing a cargo pier complex and creating an inland port in south Titusville in order to efficiently move cargo from the port to rail lines.

To ensure its cruise business continues to grow, Port Canaveral is building a new cruise terminal, a 1,000-vehicle parking facility and large improvements to Cruise Terminal 1.  Port Canaveral improvements overall exceed $236 million, much of it coming from the State of Florida, which in 2013 budgeted $275 million toward seaport projects.


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