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Port Director Video About Improvements & Future at the Seaport

August 04, 2008 By Gus in Miami: Travel News

ABOVE: Charles Towsley, former Director at Port of Miami, discusses the redevelopment program and future of Miami’s Seaport.

Brainchild of Henry Flagler, the Port of Miami opened in 1915 with passenger service to the Bahamas.  Today, Miami’s Seaport is recognized as the “Cruise Capital of the World” and “Cargo Gateway of the Americas”. It has retained its status as the number one cruise port in the world for well over a decade accommodating the largest cruise ships and the major cruise lines. As the “Cargo Gateway of the Americas”, the port primarily handles containerized cargo, vehicles and industrial equipment. It is the largest container port in the state of Florida and ninth in the United States. The port maintains shipping agreements with 36 different countries including Europe, South America, Canada, the UK, Central America, the Dominican Republic, Africa, and China.

Video Transcript

Narrator: Nestled amidst clear blue water, sandy beach and the downtown Miami skyline, the Port of Miami continues to be a leader in the Maritime industry. In this dynamic and competitive industry, it takes vision to succeed, and success is what the Port of Miami always strives for.

Towsley: As we see the global economies expanding and more and more trade coming into the Americas, it’s critical to Miami that we keep abreast to all the changes necessary for us to be able to accommodate that growth.

Making every effort to adapt and fulfill the needs of this ever changing industry by meeting the needs of both the cargo and cruise lines.

Towsley: We at the Port of Miami are proud of our title as “Cruise Capital of the World” and as such, we continue to develop new facilities for the industry. In 2005, we commenced construction on two new state-of-the-art-terminals at the cost of some 60 million dollars.

Narrator: These two new terminals are expected to accommodate 3,500 to 4,000 passenger mega cruise ships, but that’s not all.

Towsley: These terminals have the latest in technology for passenger handling for their luggage, and it’s also the first terminals to have the one-stop shopping to accommodate federal processing of passengers for customs, immigration, and agriculture.

Narrator: Also known as “The Cargo Gateway of the Americas” the port is making sure the cargo industry has state-of-the-art facilities, as well.

Towsley: At the Port of Miami, our Gantry cranes are really the heart that pumps our economy, they move the containers on and off the vessels. Right now, we have ten of these cranes, and last year, in 2005, we acquired two new what are called Super Post Panamax cranes, which are some of the largest cranes in the world.

Narrator: These Super Post Panamax cranes run on electrical power, rather than diesel fuel. Not only are these cranes good for the environment, they will also accommodate the larger mega vessels that are becoming a trend int he cargo industry. With an outreach of over 213 feet, the cranes will be able to work ships that are over 22 containers wide, but the port’s efforts don’t stop there. In 2005, they also extended their wharf by almost 2,000 feet to provide more room for growth and provide additional container capacity. They also built a new and much needed maintenance facility and completed the phase 2 south harbor dredging project, which deepened the South Chanel and Central Turning Basin.

Towsley: New dredging is an important element to the Port of Miami. As the ships get larger, the depth requirements for the Channel and Turning Basin get deeper. In 2005, we were pleased that we completed the dredging to 42 feet, and in the future, we are looking to go to 50 feet. Wow. 2005 was a successful year for the Port of Miami, and we are looking forward to 2006, and the new project, the Port of Miami Tunnel, will provide an alternate access, much needed for the Port of Miami to remove the downtown truck traffic and the congestion into the Port of Miami.

Narrator: The Tunnel, a project spearheaded by the State of Florida, as well as a new road internal access system, which separate cruise and cargo traffic as they enter the port should ilivate the traffic situation.

Towsley: Good access to the port is critical. We have thousands and thousands of trucks, buses, and cars that accces the port on a daily basis.

Narrator: And with so many people coming into and out of the port every day, security is more important than ever.

Towsley: Security is a high priority at all ports today. At the Port of Miami we have seen our security increase substantially, especially since 2001. Our security costs alone since 2001 increased from 4.1 million dollars to an operating budget estimate of over 16 million dollars, this year. On the capital side, our projects have increased from some 9.2 million to 60 million dollars in capital improvements necessary for improved security and the port.

Narrator: One such project is a new gateway access system for the for the cargo terminals that will essentially tipple their capacity to reduce congestion and increase security.

Towsley: We are looking forward to 2006. We are looking forward to completing many of the projects that are underway and coming to fruition.

Narrator: 2005 saw many impressive improvements , and 2006 will be just as ambitious, as the Port of Miami continues to grow, expand, and live up to its title as “The Cruise Capital of the World” and “The Cargo Gateway of the Americas.”

Related Categories: Cruise Guide Miami: Travel News,

Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

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