The Port of Palm Beach District Commission voted unanimously, Thursday, April 19, 2012 to approve a $26 million restoration project to Slip Number 3 at the Port of Palm Beach.
This historic infrastructure improvement project includes expanding the Slip on the north side to increase the width of the basin.
A Roll-On/Roll-Off (Ro/Ro) ramp will be added to the west side of the Slip, increasing the number Ro/Ro ramps at the Port to five.
Funding for the project $26 million project includes $20 million allocated by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), with the Port providing the additional $6 million.
“It is imperative that we protect and improve Slip Number 3 to invest in the future success of the Port and the District,” said Commission Chairman Wayne M. Richards.
The on-dock rail on the north side of the slip will remain intact and continue to offer the only dockside rail in South Florida. The rail can accommodate heavy lift cargoes and provide seamless transition of materials from the dock to the FEC rail system.
In 2011, 1.3 million tons of cargo was shipped through Slip Number 3. Currently the north bulkhead of the Slip has an existing infrastructure for freight handling, underground asphalt, fuel oil and diesel lines and access to a cement gantry, used for loading and unloading of cement. The south berth of the Slip has a fixed sugar conveyor, which is used to load sugar on to vessels, and an underground molasses pipeline with an above ground hose to connect to bulk carriers.
Additionally, the Port of Palm Beach has applied for a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant and will learn in May if additional funds will be available for the Port to add a marginal wharf that will then allow for further expansion of the slip, providing an even wider berth to accommodate larger vessels in the future.
“Securing funds from the TIGER Grant will allow the Port to grow to meet the needs of the maritime industry, and ultimately contribute to productivity and growth,” said Manuel Almira, Executive Director of The Port of Palm Beach.
The Slip Number 3 Restoration Project is expected to bring hundreds of jobs — both immediate and long term — to the area, and support new businesses and economic activity in the community. It is estimated that the project will be completed in 2014.
Dredging Today Staff, May 4, 2012; Image: portofpalmbeach