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Jump Start - Port Canaveral Expansion Begins Early

Port Canaveral will get an early start on work to widen and deepen its main shipping channel so the Brevard County port can handle more cargo. Dredging had been scheduled to begin in 2017, but the Florida Department of Transportation is contributing $24.4 million to allow work to begin as early as next summer. The Canaveral Port Authority is investing $8 million for the project, which will also widen the turning basin and allow access for
bigger ships.

By using state and local dollars rather than federal funds, the work can begin sooner, port officials say, reducing the amount of paperwork and benefiting the local economy as the national economy improves and shipments increase. Work on the shipping channel is to be completed by late 2014.

Two new cargo berths already are under construction, at a cost of $17.4 million, with one to be complete by the end of this year and the second one next year. Trade specialists with the Enterprise Florida economic development agency in Orlando say the ability of the port to handle more cargo will benefit central Florida companies. When shipments to and from the metro Orlando area can go through Port Canaveral instead of ports in Jacksonville or south Florida, it saves time and money as transportation costs are reduced.

A recent study by Rollins College found more than 300 international companies from more than 30 countries operating in the Orlando area and surrounding counties. Orange County accounts for 204 of the foreign-owned businesses involved in manufacturing, wholesale and other sectors that often depend on imports and exports. Brevard has 18 foreign-owned companies operating locally.