Steven Cernak, Chief Executive & Port Director
FTZ No. 25 • 2,190 total acres • 32 berths • 535,000 sq. ft. warehouse space • 42-foot channel
Highway: I-595, I-95, I-75, Florida Turnpike
Top export destinations: Honduras, Costa Rica, Bahamas
Top export commodities: Grocery Products, General Cargo, Paper
Steve Cernak: By the numbers, we are the No. 1 seaport in Florida by revenue and our gross operating revenues of $147 million. We are the No. 1 container port in Florida, No. 12 in the United States by volume, with 943,000 TEUs expected in 2014. We are the No. 1 port for exports in Florida. We are the No. 1 U.S. gateway for trade to Latin America. We handle 14 percent of all Latin America trade in the United States, 42 percent of Florida’s total trade in the region. We have the No. 2 foreign trade zone in the United States. We are the second largest petroleum port in Florida while we handle all of south Florida’s energy needs for 12 counties and parts of two others, so we have a direct impact for 14 counties. We’re the No. 3 cruise port in the world.
Certainly we have a lot of economic impact for the state. In fiscal year 2012, we generated $26 billion in total business activity, $729 million in state and local taxes, approximately 11,700 direct jobs and we affect over 200,000 Florida jobs that are generated by our activities.
Global Trade: Now in Florida, it’s got to be really competitive for a port because there are so many.
Steve Cernak: There are different ports that serve different niches, you know, but if you take the main ports, we are in close proximity to Miami. But we and Miami both look to try to complement each other as best we can while acknowledging a competitive environment. We both have to co-exist. Neither one could take over the operations of the other. there is not enough land area to accomplish that goal, so we continue to complement each other. We supply all of the petroleum that goes down to Miami and the three international airports, Palm Beach, Florida, Hollywood as well Miami International jet fuel comes through here. We have a direct implication to that aspect of the region.
Global Trade: About how many miles between the two ports?
Steve Cernak: About 30 miles.
Global Trade: Wow, that’s it? I would have thought it would have been more than that.
Steve Cernak: Where in the world is Port Everglades? That’s the saying here, you know, like “Where’s Waldo?” Where is Port Everglades?
I was on a plane once and the woman sitting next to me goes, “I didn’t know I could take a cruise out of the Everglades. I just took the air boat ride there yesterday.”
Global Trade: That’s funny. So I didn’t realize that you are No. 1 in Florida for Latin American exports.
Steve Cernak: We are. It’s like the best kept secret. We are the predominantly north-south gateway trade port, you know, for the Europe-Central/South America trade lanes. Miami is more the east-west connectivity, you know, but there is room for both of us to play in both arenas. We have expansion plans and are trying to advance our deepening project with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. We have the business need for it today. We have the vessels that need that dredge coming here today, but they’re coming here light loaded, so they are not being used to their full capabilities. There is a lot of investment going on here from the port infrastructure perspective at this point. We have a public/private partnership with the Florida East Coast Railway and the port as well as the state of Florida, where they are building an intermodal container transfer facility.
Global Trade: That is being built at Everglades now?
Steve Cernak: Yes, it will be open in July of 2014.
Global Trade: And your dredge is under way?
Steve Cernak: On the current schedule, the dredge would be completed by the end of 2017.
Global Trade: And then what about cranes? You also need Post-Panamax cranes, right?
Steve Cernak: Yes, and those are under design and we are in the beginning of that process right now.
One thing that is also under way is berth expansion. We have the land and we need some additional berth capacity. We have another project that is called the South Port Turning Notch Expansion. That is going to create an additional five berths in our south port area which is the predominant container area.