The Canaveral Port Authority marked the beginning of a new project to expand the port’s cargo facilities to keep pace with volume growth and future opportunities. A groundbreaking ceremony on March 25 marked the official start of a $48 million project to rebuild Port Canaveral’s North Cargo Berth 3. Port Canaveral’s cargo berth rehabilitation and modernization project is an important part of the port’s capital investment plan to ensure the port’s competitive position.
“This berth project is critical to expanding our capabilities to accommodate a growing and very diverse cargo business portfolio,” said Capt. John Murray, port director and CEO. “After a difficult few years, it’s great to be back and once again building our future on a solid foundation of ongoing business and a broad horizon of new opportunities.”
North Cargo Berth 3 was built in 1976 and has been out of service since 2014. The original design of the overwater pier combined with the increasing size of today’s merchant ships and the port’s growing variety of cargo rendered the berth functionally obsolete.
It will be replaced by an 880-foot multipurpose wharf that will ensure the required channel width to accommodate larger vessels at berth at the same time. Upon completion in April 2023, the North Cargo Berth will accommodate 3 vessels up to 300 meters long and 135 feet wide.
Demolition of the existing pier began in December 2021. In addition to removing the existing concrete berth that extended into the waterway, the bulkhead will be removed or left in place and they expect to use approximately 105,500 cubic meters of dredged material in the creation of the new berth to be moved .
In an interview with a local TV station, Murphy said, “We have more cargo that could come here; We just don’t have the skills and facilities to deal with that right now.” Murray previously reported that the port had a “very, very robust year in the cargo sector” in fiscal 2021.
Port Canaveral’s cargo business set a record with 489 calls by cargo ships in 2020-2021. Freight revenue exceeded $11 million, beating previous records and continuing strong into the new fiscal year. Since October 2021, 160 cargo ships have passed through the port, generating $5 million in revenue.
The port has a wide base of facilities that enable it to handle containers as well as breakbulk and ro/ro. The port also has a unique project capacity, handling large items for both the diverse local manufacturing community and the region’s aerospace programs. The port also expanded its oil handling facilities and reported that Port Canaveral handles nearly four million tons of dry and liquid bulk cargoes annually, including petroleum, aggregates, salt and slag. Last year, the port saw particularly strong volumes for lumber and other construction-related goods.
At their September 2021 meeting, the Commissioners of the Port of Canaveral awarded Titusville, Fla.-based RUSH Marine a $48.07 million contract for the NCB3 project, which also includes local contractors from the Brevard County area are, including Chrome Electric, Franklin Services of Brevard and WLS Utilities. The Canaveral Port Authority received a $14 million grant from the Maritime Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation for the 2019 Port Infrastructure Development Program. The Florida Department of Transportation is supporting the North Cargo Berth 3 project with $33 million in government grants.