For many years Port Canaveral (located in the center of Brevard County, Florida) has been growing in trade and revenue, expanding their base of customers and developing the infrastructure. It has been a slow process, by design or serendipitously! Now it’s a ‘player’ in the world marketplace, no longer just a theme park venture connection or gateway to World Famous Cocoa Beach. The national spotlight is upon them, environmentalist, defense department, NASA, aerospace, state and local government, railroads, aviation, fisherman, boaters, cruisers, diners and much more! Not a single segment of the population is left out of this development.
On Thursday, June 11 the Port Commission presented their ‘State Of The Port2015’ to members of the media, Gulftainer, LLC., USCG, dignitaries from local municipalities, residents of the county and the Port staff. One of the speakers, Rick Weddle of the Orlando Economic Development Commission, said that Brevard and Volusia Counties are becoming an integral ‘partner’ in the development and economic growth of Central Florida. Presently their span consists of Orange, Lake, Seminole and Osceola counties and The City of Orlando. The benefit of connectivity is obvious to all. More on the State of the Port 2015 in another post.
On Friday, June 12 Gulftainer USA #GTUSA had the Grand Opening of the Cargo Terminal with the arrival of the container vessel CMA CGM JAMAICA. It went off without a hitch and the expected protests never materialized. The opposition are well informed, educated and funded….they don’t want the rail way to proceed (as proposed) through the Banana River. That rail is critical for Port Canaveral to be a world player, if no rail is provided we will be relegated to ‘regional’ status.
The container ship CMA CGM JAMAICA arrived at the edge of Jetty Park at 6:49AM EDT, escorted by a Cape Canaveral Fireboat blazing its water cannons, harbor tugs and pilot boat and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol, #BCSO. We were informed that this vessel is the ‘deepest’ one to ever enter Port Canaveral. The Jamaica draft is listed at 12.57 meters (41+ Feet) by Vessel Finder. In comparison, Allure of the Seas has a draft of 30 feet as noted on the Royal Caribbean web site. Amazing the size of these ships and the amount of dredging necessary to keep the Barge Canal at a depth to handle them. During today’s operation the Jamaica was dafting at 11.2 meters or 36+ feet.
The ship proceeded to the cargo dock while at Cruise Terminal 6 the Port Authority #PortCanaveral made a presentation. Attending were Gulftainer #GTUSA, dignitaries, residents and staff of both organizations. Among those attending were Lana Nusseibeh UAE’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Yousef Al Otaiba UAE’s Ambassador to the United States, Richard Biter Assistant Secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Badr Jafar Gulftainer Vice-Chairman of the Executive Board, and Peter Richards GulftainerUSA Managing Executive Director, Vinai Thummalapally SelectUSA Executive Director and many others.
Those attending from the operations team of GulftainerUSA #GTUSA were; Joe Cruise-Commercial Manager, Rick Clark-Operations Manager, Luke Richards-Terminal Manager. Congratulations to Heidi Schafer of GulftaineUSA and her PR Team for pulling this all together.
Canaveral Port Authority was represented by Jerry Allender-Chairman, John A Evans-Vice Chairman, Thomas Weinberg-Secretary/Treasurer, R Bruce Deardoff-Commissioner, Wayne Justice-Commissioner, John Walsh-CEO, Jim Dubea Deputy Executive Director, Government and Strategic Partnerships, Alberto Cabrera-Sr. Director of Cargo and Business Development and many more. Congratulations to Rosalind Harvey– Sr. Director of Communications & Community Affairs and her team for making this event special for all the attendees.
After the presentation, everyone boarded buses for a tour of the cargo dock to see the cranes and ground equipment go through the motions of loading and unloading.
The CMA CGM JAMAICA is heading to France at press time. Stay tuned for the first true unloading of containers from Port Canaveral’s cargo terminal. In the mean time, good luck to all parties for working out the most effective solution for the rail plan.