USA: Port of Miami – Up to the Challenge in 2014

The expanded Panama Canal will be a game changer for container trade when it opens in August 2014. America’s trade with East Asia is expected to undergo an increased shift from Pacific ports to Atlantic ports. As the closest U.S. port to the Panama Canal, the Port of Miami expects to be the first port of call for fully laden post-Panamax vessels.

To capitalize on this trade shift, the Port of Miami is putting in place fundamental improvements. We plan to seek federal funds to dredge the harbor minus 50-feet, making it one of only three U.S. seaports on the eastern seaboard that can accommodate the world’s largest container vessels.

We will complete construction on the Port of Miami Tunnel project on May 15th, 2014. By providing trucks (and passengers) direct interstate access between the Port of Miami and I-395, the Port will be able to maintain truck movements at twice today’s capacity.

By ensuring that the Port of Miami completes these projects, we will double cargo output and create over 30,000 new trade-related jobs thus ensuring South Florida’s role as a global leader in international trade and commerce. It is an exciting time to be in the port business in Miami-Dade, as the infrastructure investments being made today are laying the foundation for tomorrow’s jobandbusinessopportunities.

Creating Jobs and Increasing Commerce

The expansion of the Panama Canal to accommodate larger, Post-Panamax ships is estimated to be completed by 2014, permitting the canal to handle vessels of cargo capacity up to 13,000 TEU’s. The Port of Miami, as the closest port to the Panama Canal is ideally positioned to take advantage of future improvements to the Panama Canal. Once dredged to 50 ft., the Port will accommodate the larger, Post-Panamax vessels, allowing the Port to grow jobs by 3% a year, and double cargo in 5 years.

Currently, the Port of Miami supports 176,000 jobs and $17 billion annually – and investment of $75 million by Federal Government will allow us to create over 30,000 jobs and increase commerce exponentially, which is especially important in a state that is currently suffering 12% unemployment.

Delivering Value

The Port of Miami dredge meets federal goals to provide value and increase exports. The Port of Miami Dredge is only 2.5 nautical miles from the seabuoy to the berths, thus, the deepening is relatively short and will only need maintenance dredging every 10 years. Also, at present, no other port on the East Coast is currently authorized and awaiting/ready to dredge to 50feet and is the type of project that should be embraced nationally.

Investing in the Future

Investing in the Port of Miami is critical to maintaining and growing jobs in South Florida.

Major shipping lines calling Miami have reiterated their interest in this project as it will accommodate their larger vessels expected to transit through the Panama Canal once the canal’s expansion concludes in 2014, and have committed tens of millions of dollars in private investment at the Port of Miami.

The State of Florida is overseeing a $1 billion tunnel project which will maintain truck/cargo movement at twice today’s capacity. The Port of Miami, a division of Miami-Dade County government, is committed to pay for one half of the deepening, almost one half of the tunnel, and has committed to approximately $1.8 billion in port infrastructure improvements over the next 10-15 years.

Funding $75 million for the Miami Harbor Dredge will allow Florida to grow jobs and increase international trade – doubling the amount of cargo currently handled at the Port of Miami. Immediate funding is needed to complete dredging in time to coincide with the 2014 opening of the improved Panama Canal.

Source: miamidade, October 5, 2010

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