USA: Florida Lt. Governor Visits Port Everglades
Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll visited Port Everglades recently to see the progress on the South Florida seaport’s three critical expansion projects that are projected to create 7,000 new jobs regionally and support more than 135,000 jobs statewide over the next 15 years.
During the visit, which included a tour and overview from the top of one of the Port’s 151-foot-high post-Panamax container gantry cranes, the Lt. Governor also met with business and community leaders who expressed the urgency for moving the expansion projects forward.
“Hearing about and seeing the opportunities at Port Everglades for increased international trade, especially with Latin America and the Caribbean, reinforces the importance of Governor Rick Scott’s focus on investing in our state’s seaports and transportation infrastructure,” Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll told the group of about 30 regional business and community leaders who directed questions to her regarding the state’s plans to increase transportation funding. “Investment in our ports is a critical component for Florida to continue as our nation’s leader in trade with Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Port Everglades’ key expansion projects are expected to be completed over the next five years and will add five cargo berths, new state-of-the-art gantry cranes, widen and deepen the channel to 50 feet and add a new on-port rail yard to the Port’s assets.
“Port Everglades is guided by a comprehensive Master/Vision Plan that prioritizes projects to best allow the Port and its customers to benefit from market opportunities, such as the Panama Canal expansion, through increased port operating revenues and the creation of good jobs,” said Steven Cernak, Chief Executive & Port Director for Port Everglades.
Deputy Port Director Glenn Wiltshire led the tour and moderated the roundtable so that Lt. Governor Carroll could hear from a wide range of business and community interests including builders, cargo shipping lines, educators and chambers of commerce members. Attendees for the tour and roundtable also included State Sen. Eleanor Sobel, State Rep. George R. Moraitis, Jr., and Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca.
Southport Turning Notch Extension (berth and crane additions)
New berth space is a must for this busy seaport. Port Everglades is extending its Southport Turning Notch to lengthen the existing deep-water turn-around area from 900 feet to 2,400 feet, adding five new cargo berths and new state-of the art container gantry cranes by 2017. A critical part of the Southport Turning Notch Extension includes replacing 8.7 acres of an existing mangrove conservation easement with a 16.5-acre upland enhancement of approximately 70,000 new mangroves, plants and seeds as well as completing a number of environmental improvements in West Lake Park. Port officials worked closely with port customers, the environmental community, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to develop the plan for the new mangrove habitat.
Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF)
Port Everglades has taken the first step to develop a near-dock Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) on Port property by breaking ground on the Eller Drive Overpass in July 2011. The Eller Drive Overpass will elevate I-595/Eller Drive to allow the trains to access the Port at ground level. The Florida Department of Transportation is the lead agency on the Overpass project, which is expected to be completed by mid-2014 at a cost of $42.5 million. Through an innovative public-private partnership with Broward County, FL, the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) will build and operate the ICTF which will be used to transfer international containers between ship and rail instead of having trucks haul the containers to and from off-port rail terminals. The FEC also plans to relocate its existing domestic intermodal service from Andrews Avenue to the ICTF at Port Everglades. Once completed, the ICTF is expected to reduce congestion on interstate highways and local roadways and reduce harmful air emissions by diverting an estimated 180,000 trucks from the roads by the year 2027. The ICTF is expected to be completed by mid-2014.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Deepening and Widening Program
Port Everglades is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to widen and deepen its channel to 50 feet from its existing 42 feet to remain competitive with other seaports in the Southeastern United States that are gearing up for the Panama Canal expansion. The Port already handles Post-Panamax ships – those too large to fit through the Panama Canal at its current size – but these ships must be lightly loaded, which is inefficient and not sustainable in the future. The total cost of this project is estimated to be $320 million, including a $131 million investment by the Port.
Press Release, September 6, 2012