The 380-acre Port Canaveral on Florida’s east coast, under the leadership of CEO John Walsh has big plans and its expansion is indeed impressive. Construction is under way to widen and expand to 55 feet deep in order to accommodate larger cargo ships, making the port well positioned to move goods easily throughout Central Florida and the Southeast U.S.
Gulftainer, a United Arab Emirates’ company, signed a 35-year agreement to be the port’s cargo operator. Badr Jafar, chairman of the executive board of the Gulftainer Group, told local media last June he expects his company would handle 700,000 containers a year from Port Canaveral.
Port Canaveral is the UAE company’s first container operation in the U.S. Peter Richards, managing director of the Gulftainer Group, also spoke about Port Canaveral. Richards said the company chose the port because of its “fantastic management,” available space for expansion, channel depth and width characteristics, and geographic location in relation to cargo customers.
Gulftainer also provides cargo services in Brazil, Iraq, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. It will be called GT USA at Port Canaveral.
This year the port will move 4 million tons, double in tonnage and triple in revenue over three years. As part of its cargo expansion, Port Canaveral also purchased a pair of 270-foot-tall cargo cranes that will be operational in early 2015.
The port is home to more than 200 tenant businesses. Morton Salt, a longtime tenant, re-signed for 10 years and an additional 2 acres.
Port Canaveral will be enhancing its intermodal connections to Central Florida. Plans include buying the existing 17-mile Florida East Coast rail line at Kennedy Space Center and adding 11 miles to connect the rail to the port. This would allow cargo customers to more economically transport goods into the U.S.
The $5.25 billion Panama Canal expansion is expected to be complete in early 2016 and ports around the world are preparing for the post-Panamax ships.
Port Canaveral is one of them. It will be making waves and a big economic splash.