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Larger Cargo Ships to Bring Increased Trade, Jobs to South Florida

by | Aug 15, 2015
PortMiami will be the onlymajor seaport south ofNorfolk,Virginia capable of handling super-sized, fully-loaded post-Panamax vessels next year, a significant economic development for all of South Florida

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John Dohm,
SIOR, CCIM, CFP
2015 Chairman of the Board MIAMI
Association of REALTORS®

PortMiami will be the onlymajor seaport south ofNorfolk,Virginia capable of handling super-sized, fully-loaded post-Panamax vessels next year, a significant economic development for all of South Florida. Larger ships mean more cargo, trade, and jobs for a port that is already Miami-Dade County's second-largest economic engine behind Miami International Airport.

The increased cargo efficiency—more containers on larger ships — will save shipping costs and will likely bring more goods to South Florida at lower prices. Increased trade from across the Pacific and through the expanded Panama Canal would also introduce an important revenue stream for Miami. A growing middle class in Asia and Latin America has increased demand for imported goods andMiami is positioned to become a hub for that trade, financially and logistically.

PortMiami — which contributes $27 billion annually to the local economy and supportsmore than 207,000 jobs in South Florida— is expending nearly $2 billion in federal, state, local, and its own enterprise funds to rebuild its infrastructure, including deepening its main harbor channel from 42 feet to a depth of 50/52 feet. When the Deep Dredge project is completed this year, PortMiami will be the closest U.S. port to the expanded Panama Canal ready to accommodate the mega-sized vessels.

The post-Panamax megaships can carry nearly 13,000TEUs, the equivalent of 13,000 standard 20-foot containers. That's three times as many boxes as on ships going through the Panama Canal today.

Deepening the harbor is part of a PortMiami's strategy to boost cargo and improve efficiency. A new port tunnel to speed truck traffic and a rail link to a FCC rail yard have been added. In its first year, the tunnel has diverted 80 percent of cargo trucks andmany passenger vehicles away from downtown Miami.The wisdom of this project is increasingly evident as a record number of new condos and projects in the downtown Miami area come on line.

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