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ABC Builders Breakfast Recap: Cruising, Cargo, Celestial Bodies Driving Growth at Port Canaveral

“Cruising is everything,” said Canaveral Port Authority Commissioner Wayne Justice. He spoke at a recent Builders’ Breakfast. The Central Florida Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) hosted the event. The event took place on July 7 at ABC’s Orlando office.

The port expects to make a profit of over $100 million this year. This matches pre-pandemic levels. Large ships from Carnival, Disney, MSC, and others drive this growth.

Port Canaveral is among Florida’s largest cruise ship terminals. It handles about 5 million passengers yearly. Miami and Port Everglades show similar numbers.

However, Justice highlighted Port Canaveral’s advantage. It attracts the big ships.

“Terminal One was completed four years ago,” he said. “The world’s largest cruise ships dock there.”

The fleets of Carnival and Disney feature large LNG-powered vessels. These are the Carnival Mardi Gras and the Disney Wish.

“Every Saturday, 6,000 people board and 6,000 people disembark,” he added. He stated the Port’s operation size creates thousands of Central Florida jobs.

In November, new ships will arrive. The Wonder of the Seas from Royal Caribbean and Prima from Norwegian Cruise Lines are due. Another vessel from MSC will join them, along with Mardi Gras and Wish.

Justice mentioned LNG systems when discussing port operations. Barge vessels transport LNG from places like Pascagoula, Mississippi and Elva Island, Georgia.

Cruising is the flashy side of port operations. Still, cargo movement in and out of Central Florida is vital. The top cargos include fuel for aviation and aggregate for construction projects. Salt and lumber also pass through Port Canaveral’s waters.

The space sector adds to the port’s activities. Both NASA and private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin conduct operations here.

Justice explained the port’s reinvestment strategy. It puts cash back into capital projects. These include new bridges, wider channels, retail partnerships, and an aquarium.

“We see $90 million a year of construction input on average,” he said. “This keeps everything moving.”