“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,” said chief executive and port director, Steven Cernak.
Container throughput during FY 2012 rose 5% to 923,600 teu compared to FY 2011, almost returning the port to its record of 985,000 teu handled in 2008, prior to the global economic downturn; container tonnage rose almost 3% reaching 5.9m tonnes. Bulk and break-bulk cargoes, typically used in construction, also rose by 83% and 27% respectively, with notable increases in cement and steel rebar.
Port officials credit existing customers for the cargo increases. In addition, two new heavy equipment shipping services, Naviera Master Line de Venezuela CA and the Panamanian ocean shipping company, SC Line, began service between Port Everglades and Colombia and other Latin American countries.
Overall, waterborne commerce, which includes all the port’s revenue-generating marine activity, remained steady at 22m tonnes, while non-marine activity, such as real estate leases and parking, also contributed to the port’s bottom line.
Port Everglades is undergoing three major capital improvement projects totalling more than US$500m to increase cargo business by adding five new berths, deepening its navigational channels to 15 m (50 ft) and bringing intermodal freight rail to the port with its partner, Florida East Coast Railway. These improvements are expected to be completed by 2017.