Port Everglades reports rise in container business
Port Everglades said it handled 985,095 TEUs and 6.58 million tons of containerized cargo in its fiscal year ended Sept. 30.
The TEU count was up 3.8 percent; tonnage was up 8.7 percent.
Containerized cargo has almost doubling, increasing 92 percent, since fiscal year 2002. Port Director Phillip C. Allen attributed the growth in containerized cargo to increased business at several facilities operated by Crowley Liner Services, Florida International Terminal, Florida Transportation Services, Port Everglades Terminals Ltd., Sun Terminals and St. John Shipping. Port Everglades Terminal (MSC) and Florida International Terminal, are new terminal operators, in the Port’s Southport area.
“Containerized cargo was a positive note in a tough economic year,” Allen said. “While there have been indications that shipping markets have softened in the last two months, we are cautiously optimistic that the volumes will stabilize and continue an upward trend. Just like all businesses that depend upon international trade, we are monitoring world events and hope for an economic upswing.
“However, we also recognize that we must move forward with necessary infrastructure improvements so that Port Everglades is ready and able to accommodate our customers as they grow their businesses,” he added.
Rolling and floating cargos such as yachts, trucks, tractors and automobiles also increased by 22.5 percent to 240,129 tons in the fiscal year. More used vehicles are being transported to the islands in the Caribbean, which spurred this growth.
Overall waterborne commerce decreased 8.2 percent to 24.2 million tons due to lower volumes of petroleum products and construction materials.
Bulk and breakbulk cargos such as cement, steel and lumber decreased 52 percent, which port officials attribute to the downturn in the South Florida construction industry, including the related downturn in the South Florida housing market.
Multi-day cruise traffic remained steady in fiscal year 2008, while the number of daily cruise passengers declined 18 percent, which port officials attributed primarily to competitive gaming from landside venues and the departure of SeaEscape’s Island Adventure twice-daily cruises from the port.
Port Everglades is the world’s third-busiest cruise homeport behind the Port of Miami and Port Canaveral. But the port predicted that by 2011 Port Everglades would become the No. 1 cruise port in the world with the addition of year-round sailings by Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis-class ships in late 2009 and 2010. At 220,000 gross-registered-tons, RCI’s Oasis ships will be the world’s largest cruise ships, carrying 5,400 passengers each. ' Chris Dupin