Florida International Terminal looks to expansion as reefer trade grows

(Photo: Florida International Terminal)

Extra gate capacity aims to reduce turn times for drivers.

Florida International Terminal is expanding its containerized cargo terminal at Port Everglades, effectively doubling its capacity as it seeks capitalize on growing produce-related cargo coming through the port.

Florida International Terminal, co-owned by Chilean terminal owners Saam (SSE: SMSAAM) and Agunsa, is adding 12 acres from a neighboring terminal to its existing 32 acre site. The new gates are expected to be open in November.

The extra space will double the number of inbound lanes to six and outbound lanes to two.

In addition, FIT plans to add up to 350 additional reefer plugs, add new yard equipment and scales.

Its information technology system will also get an upgrade in three months with a new reservation system from eModal and traffic control system from Tideworks Technology.

The terminal, which handles between 800 and 1,000 gate moves per day, currently averages 45 minutes for truck turns, says Klaus Stadthagen, FIT’s general manager. The expansion could reduce turn times by 10% to 20%.

The appointment system will allow gensets to pre-mounted on reefer trailers ahead of drivers having to wait for a genset to be installed.

“It will allow the trucks to enter quicker and leave quicker,” Stadthagen said. “That’s important for the trucking community. “It’s going to speed up the process of dispatching, especially reefer containers.”

FIT’s expansion comes as the port itself plans for $1 billion in upgrades to handle more containers. Over the next five years, Port Everglades will expand and deepen its ship turning basin to accomodate more post-panamax container ships. Onshore, Port Everglades plans to add three new gantry cranes and replace seven existing cranes.

Much of the growth is expected to come the growing produce trade with South America. FIT saw its container volumes reach 226,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (teus) during fiscal 2017, a 17% increase over last year. Perishables cargo accounts for approximately 15% of those volumes.

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Michael Angell, Bulk and Intermodal Editor

Michael Angell covers maritime, intermodal and related topics for FreightWaves. His interest in transportation stretches back several generations. One great-grandfather was a dray horseman along the New York waterfront and another was a railway engineer in Texas. More recently, Michael has written about the shipping industry for TradeWinds, energy markets for Oil Price Information Service, and general business topics for FactSet Mergerstat and Investor's Business Daily. When he is not stuck in the office, he enjoys tours of ports, terminals, and railyards.