BROWARD COUNTY, FL - Fitch Ratings has affirmed the 'A' rating on Broward County's Port Everglades' outstanding $167 million port facilities senior revenue and refunding bonds, and has revised the Rating Outlook from Stable to Positive.
Fitch reported: "The Positive Outlook reflects the expectation that the port will continue to demonstrate strong financial performance in terms of coverage and leverage, as well as anticipation that the port will maintain its diverse maritime operations and increasing revenue growth. The port is currently moving forward with a substantial capital plan that focuses on harbor deepening and additional container berths; finalization of the project budget and debt issuances in line with the current forecast will likely result in upward rating migration."
Port Everglades, located in Florida's second most-populated county, is undergoing a comprehensive, customer-driven expansion effort to add more cargo berths and Super Post-Panamax gantry container cranes, deepen and widen its navigational channels and improve cruise terminal facilities.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Port Everglades Navigation Improvements Project, a critical component of the expansion effort, received federal authorization as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act signed into law December 16, 2016. The project is currently in the preconstruction engineering and design phase, and is proceeding through the permitting and federal funding processes. The $389.3 million project is anticipated to be completed by 2024, creating an estimated 2,200 construction jobs and nearly 1,500 permanent direct jobs locally resulting from additional cargo capacity.
Port Everglades is consistently ranked among the top three busiest cruise ports in the world, is one of the nation's leading container ports and is South Florida's main seaport for receiving petroleum products including gasoline, jet fuel and alternative fuels.
The Port Everglades Department is a self-supporting Enterprise Fund of Broward County, Florida government with operating revenues of nearly $163 million in Fiscal Year 2016 (October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016). It does not rely on local tax dollars for operations. The total value of economic activity related to Port Everglades is nearly $29.4 billion. Almost 233,000 Florida jobs are impacted by the Port, including 12,963 people who work for companies that provide direct services to Port Everglades.
For more information on Port Everglades, go to porteverglades.net or e-mail PortEverglades@broward.org.
DATE: May 10, 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Ellen Kennedy, Assistant Director
Business Development Division/Communications