by Mike Vogel
Updated 8 months ago
Despite some well-publicized cruise mishaps, the industry continues to grow in Florida — with one exception. The casino cruise and day-cruise segment fell 21% last year, holding down overall growth. Overall, the number of cruise passengers increased 3.5% thanks to the number of multiday cruise passengers rising 4.5% to a record 13.6 million. Port Canaveral posted the largest gain at 27.3%, followed by Palm Beach, 12.5%, Tampa, 11.3%, and Jacksonville, 3.6%. Cruise passenger counts fell at Port Everglades, 4.5%, Key West, 10.0%, and Miami, 6.1%.
The Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott provided $278 million for Florida’s ports in this year’s budget, a “historic” figure, according to the Florida Ports Council. Last year, the state spent $180 million on channel deepening and on-port projects. Among the notable projects under way:
- Channel widening and cargo berth construction at Port Canaveral
- An intermodal container transfer facility at JaxPort
- At PortMiami, channel deepening, a tunnel connecting port facilities and the interstate and a collaborative project with Florida East Coast Industries that restores at-port rail with Florida East Coast Railway’s freight system.
- At the Port of Tampa, a new road connector to I-4, rebuilt berths and pier at the port’s petroleum facilities and development of a 128-acre, off-port site for bulk trade.