USA: Port Everglades Welcomes Channel Deepening Report
Broward County Broward County and Port Everglades officials welcomed yesterday’s news that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing its draft report for deepening and widening the South Florida seaport’s navigational channels to enable safe passage of deep draft post-Panamax cargo ships.
Release of the USACE Feasibility Report with Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Port Everglades Harbor, Broward County, Florida, kicks off an official 45-day comment period in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.
“This has been an exhaustive study process, 17 years, for the Corps to ensure that this project is economically and environmentally sound. The fact is that Port Everglades must have deeper water for the newer, larger generation of cargo ships that are replacing the older fleet worldwide, including those transiting the Panama Canal,” said Port Everglades Chief Executive & Port Director Steven Cernak. “We appreciate the dedicated efforts of our Broward County Commissioners, Governor Rick Scott, and our state and federal legislators, especially Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Lois Frankel, whose districts include Port Everglades, and who strongly advocated for the project in Tallahassee and Washington so that Port Everglades can continue to support jobs and provide economic stability to Florida.”
“We have reached a major milestone, but recognize that there are hurdles that we still need to overcome, and will, because Port Everglades is too important to Florida’s economy and must be able to compete in the global marketplace,” said Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The total project will deepen Port Everglades’ channel from 42 feet to 48 feet (when constructed, the project will include an additional two feet of allowable overdepth for a total of 50 feet), and widen the channel entrance so that cargo ships can safely pass cruise ships docked along the Intracoastal Waterway inside the Port. The total cost for deepening and widening Port Everglades’ navigational channels is estimated at $313 million, which will be paid for through a combination of federal funds, port user fees and possibly state funds. No local tax dollars will be used for this project.
“The combination of our Port’s three priority cargo projects – deepening, adding new berths and building an on-port freight rail facility – will create 7,000 new jobs locally and support another 135,000 jobs statewide when at full capacity in 2027,” said Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs. “The Corps has studied environmental impacts for the project extensively, and has explored various mitigation alternatives. We applaud the decision to move forward so that Port Everglades can continue to be the economic powerhouse it has always been in South Florida.”
Public meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, July 23, 2013, at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center at 1-3 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.
Press Release, June 28, 2013