May 20, 2024
Planes, trains, ships & trucks: Florida's transportation infrastructure

Economic Backbone -- Transportation & Trade

Planes, trains, ships & trucks: Florida's transportation infrastructure

| 4/27/2016

Airport Profiles The Big Four

No.1 Miami International (MIA)

MIA handled the second-highest number of international passengers among all airports in the U.S. last year.

The 10th-busiest U.S. airport by annual domestic and international passenger counts — and the 23rd in the world — MIA has long been the gateway to Latin America. More than 21.2 million passengers boarded and deplaned international flights in 2015, a 5. 5% increase over 2014 figures, according to Miami International’s latest traffic report.

The number of international passengers is only slightly less than the 23.1 million domestic passengers that passed through the airport last year. Combined, domestic and international passenger totals in 2015 reached 44.4 million.

Miami International also ships more international air freight than any other U. S. airport.

No.2 Orlando International (MCO)

Florida’s second-busiest airport, with more than 38.8 million passengers last year, Orlando International handled more than 5.08 million international passengers in 2015, a 17.6% increase from the previous year.

Over the last five years MCO’s international passenger counts have grown 57%. The airport is undergoing $1.1-billion in improvements and in March it will begin work on a $1.8-billion south terminal.

No.3 Fort Lauderdale International (FLL)

Florida’s third-busiest airport, Fort Lauderdale ranks second in the number of international passengers.

In 2015, the airport counted 5.5 million enplaning and deplaning international passengers, an 18% increase over the previous year and just slightly ahead of Orlando International’s 2015 total. International passengers accounted for a fifth of all passengers using the airport last year.

No.4 Tampa International (TPA)

Tampa International handled 719,261 international passengers last year, or 4% of the more than 18.8 million passengers that enplaned and deplaned flights during 2015. Annual international passenger numbers have soared 84% over the last five years.

International Flights

Getting There from Here

» Miami: The 61 passenger airlines operating out of MIA offer scheduled service to more than 100 cities outside the U.S. From Miami, it’s possible to fly to the following overseas destinations on scheduled, seasonal and charter commercial airlines:

Argentina, Aruba, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Netherlands, Peru, Panama, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Russia, Spain, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Surinam, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turks and Caicos, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Virgin Islands and Venezuela.

» Fort Lauderdale: Fort Lauderdale has 29 airlines that offer scheduled, seasonal and charter flights to the following places: Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Germany, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Peru, St. Maarten, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, United Kingdom and Venezuela.

» Orlando: Served by 39 passenger airlines, Orlando International offers scheduled, seasonal and charter service to the following places: Aruba, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica,
Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, Norway, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, at central Florida’s second main airport, Orlando Sanford International (SFB), eight airlines offer regularly scheduled, chartered and seasonal service to the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Peru, Surinam and the United Kingdom.

» Tampa: TPA’s 18 commercial, seasonal and charter airlines fly to the following countries on a regularly scheduled, seasonal or chartered basis: Bahamas, Canada, Cuba, Germany, Cayman Islands, Mexico, Panama, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

» Fort Myers/Naples: At Southwest Florida International (RSW), four airlines offer commercial and seasonal service to Dusseldorf, Germany; Havana, Cuba; Toronto and Ottawa, Canada.

» Palm Beach: At Palm Beach International (PBI), seasonal charter service is offered to the Bahamas and to three Canadian cities, Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto.

» Jacksonville: At Jacksonville International (JAX), Air Canada Express will begin offering flights to Toronto beginning May 7.

» Sarasota: At Sarasota International (SRQ), West Jet and Air Canada Rouge offer scheduled seasonal air service to Toronto.


The transportation and warehousing sectors account for nearly 350,000 jobs in Florida — No. 13 among Florida’s job sectors as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, and also No. 13 in its ranking in terms of its contribution to Florida’s overall gross domestic produce, with more than $26 billion.

Within the transportation and warehousing sector, the No. 1 subsector in terms of employment is truck transportation, accounting for more than 91,000 jobs.

Average annual wages in the trucking industry were $43,903 in 2012. The Florida Trucking Association says the trucking industry pays 34% of all taxes and fees paid by Florida motorists, even though truck traffic represents only 8% of vehicle miles traveled in the state. As of 2014, a typical five-axle tractor semitrailer combination paid $3,876 in state highway user fees and taxes in addition to $8,906 in federal fees and taxes.


Florida’s cruise industry contributed $7.95 billion to Florida’s economy in 2014 and accounts for 38% of the cruise industry’s spending nationwide, according to Cruise Lines International Association, the largest U.S. cruise industry trade association.

More than 14 million cruise ship passengers embark and disembark Florida’s seaports each year. In Key West, the cruise industry contributes more than 15% of the city’s total tax base.

» Trend: Truck fleets have pioneered the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) to power the vehicles.

» Notable: Florida, with 250,000 truck registrations, is the No. 1 state in the number of registered truck drivers, ahead of Texas at No. 2.

» Notable: Within Florida’s urban regions, most goods — more than 80% — are delivered by truck.

Port Traffic

» Florida’s seaports move more than 100 million tons of cargo each year.

» Florida’s share of the U.S. container market fell from 8.3% in 2000 to 7.0% in 2013.

» More than 70% of export containers originating in Florida move through state ports. However, an estimated 300,000 Florida-originated containers are transported by rail or truck and shipped through ports in Houston, New York, Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C.

» The Florida Ports Council estimates the state has the potential to capture annually some 3.5 million more shipping containers, or TEUs (20-foot equivalent units). These are Florida-bound TEUs that arrive at ports outside the state and are delivered either by rail or truck.

» Florida has 15 deepwater ports: Canaveral, Citrus, Everglades, Fernandina, Fort Pierce, Jacksonville, Key West, Manatee, Miami, Palm Beach, Panama City, Pensacola, Port St. Joe, St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay.

Air Cargo

» Commodities carried by Miami International Airport are valued at $68.5 billion, accounting for 80.9% of the total commodities carried by Florida airports.

» Nationally, Florida ranks fourth in total air cargo tonnage, capturing an 11.2% market share of top 10 air cargo states.

» Florida’s commercial airports enplane more than 11% of the nation’s air cargo freight.

» 36% of Florida’s international trade dollars are generated by air cargo shipments.

» The economic impact of air cargo produced or sold in Florida exceeds $34 billion each year.

Big Pharma

Miami International is the first airport in the U.S. to gain certification by the International Air Transport Association for handling and shipping pharmaceutical products. Approved in late 2015, the IATA certification is expected to boost MIA’s annual $3.3 billion in revenue from pharma-related air freight.

The certification process by IATA, a trade association that represents some 260 airlines worldwide, involves training of all personnel that handle pharma products, including those working for air cargo carriers, trucking and logistics companies. The certification also involves detailed assessments of MIA’s cold-storage infrastructure.

Handling temperature-sensitive drugs, such as vaccines and blood products, requires exacting thermal controls from point of origin, during overseas flights, to MIA warehouses and eventually to hospitals, laboratories and research centers in the U.S. and abroad.

Meanwhile, the airport is also in the process of completing its application to become a Foreign Trade Zone magnet site operator, says airport spokesman Greg Chin.

The Foreign Trade Zone application must be approved by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners and then by the Foreign Trade Zone Board, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The entire process takes from 10 months to more than a year, says Chin. The FTZ is a designation that makes the entire airport property an FTZ magnet site. “The designation will allow us to lease our 720,000 square feet of vacant warehouse and office space to site users with the benefits of an FTZ, which allows deferred, reduced or eliminated customs duties,” says Chin.

The FTZ has the potential to generate $7.7 million annually in lease revenue and create an estimated 1,500 jobs, says Chin.

Update Brightline

Construction is under way at the four rail stations that will anchor All Aboard Florida’s new Brightline passenger train service. When completed in early 2018, the Brightline system will connect Orlando International Airport’s intermodal terminal facility with Brightline’s MiamiCentral station via stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

By mid-March, the contractor had completed foundation work on the MiamiCentral station. Vertical construction is expected to begin later this spring. The Orlando Intermodal terminal, currently under construction, will serve three different train systems, the first being Brightline, says airport spokesperson Carolyn Fennell.

“We will be the first airport in Florida that will have a transportation system that provides passenger rail service between Miami and Orlando,” says Fennell.

Update CSX Intermodal Center

Rail and truck traffic at the Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Center in Winter Haven is booming, says CSX Regional Vice President Bob O’Malley. The 318-acre site is owned by Evansville Western Railway, which has contracted CSX to provide services at the center.

The terminal has three wide-span cranes that lift containers off trains and place them on trucks for delivery throughout central and south Florida. Adjacent to that facility is a 407,400-sq.- ft. Warehouse, developed by Winter Haven Industrial Investors.

O’Malley says the recently completed warehouse is being marketed to large industrial users with space requirements between 100,000 and 500,000 square feet. The intermodal terminal has about 43 employees and can process up to 300,000 containers annually, says CSX spokesperson Kristin Seay.

Tags: Transportation, Economic Backbone

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