Florida Atlantic seaports enhance infrastructures

By: | at 07:00 PM | Channel(s): Ports & Terminals  

By Paul Scott Abbott, AJOTInfrastructure projects are abounding at deepwater seaports along Florida’s Atlantic Coast as port officials hope to be ready to handle substantial growth in trade, including greater trans-Pacific volumes associated with Panama Canal expansion.
Looking individually at the latest at deepwater ports on the Sunshine State’s East Coast, from south to north:
PORT OF MIAMIFew projects at Florida ports have been as long-anticipated as the tunnel to link the 518-acre island occupied by the Port of Miami-Dade County with the downtown Miami mainland.
Finally, to the tune of some $1 billion, the tunnel project appears as if it will indeed move forward, with a projection that it will be in operation by 2013. This will allow trucks and other port traffic to avert downtown gridlock and to directly access the Interstate highway system.
While the tunnel will provide much better roadway access than the port’s existing six-lane bridge, a deeper channel will enhance accessibility for ships. Miami-Dade County recently secured federal approval to proceed with deepening the channel on the cargo side of the port island to 50 feet from its current 42 feet. This would allow the port to accommodate some of the larger breed of containerships that will be able to transit the expanded Panama Canal.
Vessel activity at the Port of Miami already looks to pick up following the January decision of Maersk Line officials to consolidate the global box carrier’s South Florida calls at Miami, with early termination by a related A.P. Moeller-Maersk unit of a lease at Port Everglades.
PORT EVERGLADESOfficials at Broward County’s Port Everglades aren’t overly concerned about the loss of Maersk calls. For one thing, as part of the early termination, Universal Marine Services Corp. will have to pay the port some $7.8 million over the next three years. For another, the departure helps free up space for more productive uses outlined in the port’s new master vision plan.
The plan, adopted in December, calls for reconfiguration of berths, construction of an intermodal container transfer facility, addition of an aggregate facility for importation of crushed rock, replacement of bulkhead infrastructure, roadway improvements, cruise-related enhancements and a number of environmental measures.
Five-year capital project expenditures are budgeted at more than $418.5 million, with the total cost over 20 years placed at $2 billion.
Port Everglades recently gained the business of Antillean Marine Shipping Corp., which for 45 years had operated its ships out of Miami River facilities. Antillean’s services to Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Panama are anticipated to bring the Broward County port 60,000 container moves this year. Also recently adding to Port Everglades services is France-based global carrier CMA CGM.
PORT OF PALM BEACHRiviera Beach-based Port of Palm Beach is looking to add to its cargo volumes with on-dock rail capability that is to be fully in place by fall, making it the only Florida East Coast port with such ability. The current $1 million rail project is part of a $6 million overall investment being made in the port’s rail infrastructure. The project will benefit such port users as bulk mover Cemex/Rinker and Caribbean region container carrier Tropical Shipping, which is the port’s longtime leading tenant.
The port’s $15.5 million South Gate project is moving toward July completion, to add a 60,000-square-foot warehouse and office building, new gatehouse and five acres for cargo laydown. The warehouse is designed to allow those dropping off small shipments to make their deliveries without having to enter the port’s restricted zone.
Also proceeding is a state-funded project to turn into a four-lane, divided highway the State Road 710 corridor, connecting port gates to Interstate 95. Completion of the enhanced state-designated truckway is set for 2012 or 2013.
Port of Palm Beach recently added a diesel fuel terminal, and port o

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For more than a quarter of a century, Paul Scott Abbott has been writing and shooting images for the American Journal of Transportation, applying four decades of experience as an award-winning journalist. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, with a master’s magna cum laude from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Abbott has served as president of chapters of the Propeller Club of the United States, Florida Public Relations Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Abbott honed his skills on several daily newspapers, including [em]The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Richmond (Va.) News Leader, Albuquerque Journal and (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel, and was editor and publisher of The County Line, a weekly newspaper he founded in suburban Richmond, Va.[/em] A native Chicagoan, he is a member of American Mensa and an ever-optimistic fan of the Chicago Cubs.