U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board Moves Plan Forward
BROWARD COUNTY, FL - Broward County's Port Everglades reached a major milestone today in its effort to deepen and widen its navigational channels and turning basin as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board approved the final environmental and economic feasibility studies for the project.
The Civil Works Review Board met today in Washington, DC, to discuss various aspects of the project before unanimously approving that the plan move forward for state and agency review. There will now be a 30-day comment period for oversight agencies, followed by time for the Corps to address any questions. The final step in the Corps' project approval process is a Chief of Engineers Report recommending the project to Congress for construction authorization. The Chief's Report is anticipated by the end of May 2015.
"The future of this economic powerhouse depends on being able to keep up with Florida's growing population, larger ships, and competition from international and domestic ports that are expanding and modernizing their infrastructure. Any delay to the expansion risks the new larger freight ships contracting with other ports, passing us by and taking thousands of jobs with them," said Congresswoman Lois Frankel, whose district includes Port Everglades. Congresswoman Frankel attended the meeting in Washington along with staff from the South Florida Congressional Delegation and Richard Biter, Assistant Secretary for Intermodal Systems Development for the Florida Department of Transportation.
Port Everglades has been working with the Corps for more than 18 years on this project, designed to enable safe passage of deep draft post-Panamax cargo ships, those too large to fit through today's Panama Canal. Port Everglades already handles Post-Panamax ships from Europe, but the ships must be lightly loaded, which is inefficient, and older fleets are being replaced with much larger ships. Main features of the project are to deepen the main navigational channels from 42 feet to 48 feet (plus 1-foot required and another 1-foot allowable overdepth for a total of 50 feet) and to widen the Entrance Channel and the maneuverability constrained Southport Access Channel, including the "knuckle" area between berths 23-26.
The project is anticipated to create an estimated 4,700 total construction jobs and nearly 1,500 permanent direct jobs locally. The estimated cost is $374 million which will be paid with Port Everglades revenue generated through port user fees, federal appropriations and state grants. No local tax dollars will be used for this project because Port Everglades is a self-funded enterprise fund.
At the crossroads of north-south and east-west trade, Broward County's Port Everglades is Florida's leading container port, handling more than one million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units, the industry standard measurement for container volumes) and serving as a gateway to Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. Located within the cities of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Dania Beach, Florida, Port Everglades is in the heart of one of the world's largest consumer regions, including a constant flow of visitors and up to a combined 110 million residents and seasonal visitors within a 500-mile radius. Port Everglades has direct access to the interstate highway system and the newly opened 43-acre Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) intermodal hub, and is closer to the Atlantic Shipping Lanes than any other Southeastern U.S. port. Ongoing capital improvements and expansion will ensure that Port Everglades can continue to handle future growth in container traffic. A world-class cargo handling facility, Port Everglades serves as an ideal point of entry and departure for products shipped around the world.
DATE: February 27, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Ellen Kennedy
Port Everglades Business Development Division/Communications
PHONE: 954-468-3508; 954-868-0220 (cell)