March 22, 2018
Rising tide: Cruise revenue pushes Port Canaveral toward $100 million


Central Florida Roundup

Rising tide: Cruise revenue pushes Port Canaveral toward $100 million

Jason Garcia | 10/26/2017

A new generation of leviathan-like cruise ships and a small but fast-growing cargo business has put Port Canaveral on the cusp of a significant milestone: $100 million in revenue.

The Brevard County seaport is forecasting $99.6 million in operating revenue in fiscal 2018, an 8.8% jump from the current year. Add a few hundred thousand dollars more in expected interest income and grant revenue, and Canaveral expects to top $100 million for the first time in its 64-year history.

Cruises are the big driver, accounting for about 80% of Port Canaveral’s revenue. The port anticipates 4.6 million multiday and port-of-call cruise passengers in 2018, from 591 home-port sailings and 123 port-of-call visits. The port, which charges cruise lines a per-passenger fee as well as other tariffs, expects its direct cruise revenue to rise 8.2% to $60 million and parking revenue from cruise passengers to rise 6.9% to $17.9 million.

“We’ve been getting larger ships in here — and these are 4,000- to 6,000-passenger ships,” says Rodger Rees, Canaveral’s deputy executive director and CFO.

Canaveral is also projecting a 14.1% spike in cargo-related revenue to $9.2 million. Rees says that’s due primarily to growth in petroleum-related shipments — oil, gasoline and jet fuel. Lumber shipments, which fell sharply after the housing bust, are also rising, along with shipments of granite, limestone, salt and containers.

The port began receiving vehicle shipments last year — recently reaching 10,000 cars, mostly new vehicles from Mexico. It also handles used cars and heavy-duty equipment that’s shipped out of central Florida into Latin America.

Another new source of cargo: Space-related shipments, including the spent rockets that SpaceX launches from nearby Cape Canaveral. The rocket tubes are picked up in the ocean and then shipped back to the port to be refurbished. “All of a sudden we have a new revenue source which we had not planned for,” Rees says.

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