BROWARD COUNTY, FL – Broward County’s Port Everglades is one of two seaports nationwide to receive a construction “New Start” designation in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) FY 2020 Work Plan, released today.
The New Start designation funds $29.1 million to build a new facility for the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Station Fort Lauderdale further east so the Intracoastal Waterway can be widened by 250 feet at a chokepoint where large Neo-Panamax cargo ships currently have operating restrictions that affect their ability to transit past docked cruise ships. The Coast Guard Station reconfiguration is the first phase of the larger USACE Port Everglades Navigation Improvements Project (PENIP) to deepen and widen the Port’s navigational channels. The next step is for the USACE to enter into a Project Partnership Agreement with the Port for the overall project which includes the USCG reconfiguration. The Coast Guard station reconfiguration is estimated to be completed by November 2023 at a total cost of approximately $39 million, with the balance paid through port revenue and state grant funds.
“Addressing this chokepoint is a critical step to widening the Intracoastal Waterway so cargo ships are able to transit to and from the southern part of the Port,” said Glenn Wiltshire, Port Everglades Acting Chief Executive and Port Director. “The new Coast Guard Station is a welcomed bonus that is needed for our community.”
The USACE’s PENIP has enjoyed bi-partisan federal support, including from Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rick Scott and current and former Congressional delegation members including Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Congressman Ted Deutsch, Congressman Alcee Hastings, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Congresswoman Lois Frankel and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart. Statewide support has been led by Governor Ron DeSantis, the Broward Legislative Delegation and the Florida Department of Transportation. Business partners from the Port Everglades Action Team including representation from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the Port Everglades Association, Broward Workshop, Greater Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood Chambers of Commerce and Port stakeholders have been instrumental in their outreach effort to Washington.
“Our community has been a great supporter of Port Everglades because businesspeople and residents recognize the economic benefits that the Port generates. As a community, we have been actively advocating to our elected officials in D.C. for this new start designation so that the first phase of this critical project to deepen and widen our channels could begin,” said Broward County Mayor Dale V.C. Holness.
The Port Everglades deepening and widening project was authorized for construction in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 2016 and the USACE is currently in the preconstruction engineering and design phase.
The full deepening and widening project is designed to enable safe passage of next generation cruise ships and deep draft Neo-Panamax cargo ships. As the nation’s leading gateway for trade with Latin America, the Port already handles Neo-Panamax ships from Europe and South America, but the ships must be lightly loaded, which is inefficient, especially as older fleets are being replaced with much larger ships.
It is anticipated that the completed project will create 2,200 construction jobs and nearly 1,500 permanent direct jobs locally resulting from additional cargo capacity. Port Everglades currently generates nearly $34 billion in business annually and over 13,000 direct jobs in South Florida. It is the region’s main seaport for receiving petroleum and jet fuel, a top container port in the state, and is one of the top three cruise ports worldwide.
DATE: February 10, 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Ellen Kennedy
Port Everglades Business Development/Communications