Port Canaveral

Port Canaveral

Port Canaveral is a major cruise and cargo port located in Brevard County, Florida.

Port Canaveral is the second busiest cruise port in the world with 4.6 million cruise passengers passing through during 2004. Carnival, Disney, Royal Caribbean International, Holland America, and Norwegian Cruise Line are some of the cruise lines which regularly dock at one of the six cruise terminals. The port also bears operations for the casino ships of SunCruz Casinos.

A world-class deep water port, Port Canaveral also has a high volume of cargo traffic. Over convert|3000000|ST of bulk cargo moves through Port Canaveral each year. Commonly shipped cargo includes cement, petroleum and aggregate. The port is equipped with conveyors and hoppers for loading products directly into trucks, and facilities for bulk cargo containers.

There is convert|750000|sqft|m2|-3 of covered freight storage capacity. It handled convert|4000000|ST of cargo in 2004. The port exports fresh citrus; bulk frozen citrus juice stored in one of the largest freezer warehouses in the state; cement and building materials. The port receives lumber, salt for water softening, automobiles, and steel sheet and plate. It transships items for land, sea, air and space. Having the shortest direct entry on Florida's East Coast, Port Canaveral offers 45-minute transit time from the first sea buoy to docking. Port Canaveral's Foreign Trade Zone is among the largest general purpose FTZs in the nation - over convert|5|sqmi|km2|0. The port boosts Brevard's economy by 1/2 billion dollars annually.

In April 2007, shipping was off 25.6% for the previous six months compared to the previous year, down to convert|295965|ST per months. [cite book | author = |title = Cargo Data | publisher = Florida Today | date = April 16, 2007]

Governing Authority

Port commissioners are elected from the surrounding area by popular vote. They must live in specific areas, but are elected by voters in all five districts. The races are partisan.
District 1 - Ray Sharkey
District 2 - Joe D. Matheny
District 3 - Tom Goodson
District 4 - Ralph Kennedy
District 5 - Rodney S. Ketcham -- deceased; Governor Crist appointed Charlie Ragland to fill the remainder of Ketcham's unexpired term, until January, 2009.

Salary is $10,083.72 annually.

Chief Executive Officer (appointed) - J. Stanley Payne


Concept and early development

The idea of developing a port at this location was first conceived in the 1880s. Dedication occurred November 4, 1953, with the navy destroyer escort USS McClelland (DE-750) participating. Noah Butts , a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, was the first Chairman of the Canaveral Port Authority. [ [http://www.portcanaveral.org/general/Port_Timeline.pdf Official website] ] The first port manager, George King, was announced in 1954. Commercial fishing had already begun at the port, and in the next year commercial shipping began, with a load of bagged cement delivered by the SS Morman Spruce. In 1955, the Tropicana Corporation began building a refrigerated warehouse for the purpose of storing orange juice, a significant local agricultural product, prior to shipping.

Cruise traffic first appeared at the port in 1964, with the SS Yarmouth Castle, recently purchased by Yarmouth Cruise Lines from the Chadade Steamship Company. The ship was American owned, with registration from Panama. The ship burned at sea between Miami and Nassau in 1965, and cruise traffic was limited until the 1980s.

In 1965, a lock was dedicated at the port. The Canaveral Lock is still in operation, and is maintained by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The focus of the port throughout the 1960s and 1970s remained commercial fishing and shipping, with three convert|400|ft|m|sing=on cargo piers built on the north side of the Port in 1976, and a succession of warehouses built in the port area.

Port Canaveral has played an important role in support of NASA projects out of nearby John F. Kennedy Space Center. Specifically, the Space Shuttle's external tanks are floated into Port Canaveral for each mission from their fabrication facility in Mississippi, and the solid rocket boosters are towed back through Port Canaveral after being fished out of the Atlantic Ocean after each launch.

In 2008, Sterling Casino Lines ceased doing business at the port. [ [http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080708/NEWS01/807080322/1006 Florida Today] retrieved July 8, 2008]

Cruise traffic

In the early 1980s, a new port director, Charles Rowland, shifted the focus towards developing the port to a Cruise port. In 1982, a convert|20000|sqft|m2|-3 warehouse on the north side of the port was converted into Cruise Terminal 1. The SS Scandinavian Sea, a convert|10427|ST ship, was the first cruise ship to homeport at Port Canaveral. Early cruises were simple day cruises out into the ocean and back.

Expanding the Cruise capability of the port begun in 1982, two more warehouses were converted to cruise terminals in 1983. The following year the SS Royale of Premier Cruise Line was homeported at Port Canaveral. The first year-round 3- and 4-day cruises to the Bahamas began. A fourth cruise terminal was opened in 1986.

As of January, 2008, the following cruise ships homeported at Port Canaveral:
"Sovereign of the Seas" (Royal Caribbean) sailing Fridays and Mondays
"Mariner of the Seas" (Royal Caribbean) sailing Sundays
"Carnival Sensation" (Carnival Cruise Lines) sailing Thursdays and Sundays
"Carnival Glory" (Carnival Cruise Lines) sailing Saturdays
"Disney Wonder" (Disney Cruise Lines) sailing Thursdays and Sundays
"Disney Magic" (Disney Cruise Lines) sailing Saturdays

Royal Caribbean is currently planning changes to its ship lineup at Port Canaveral. In December 2008, they have announced their intention to sell "Sovereign" to Pullmantur Cruises and replace it with "Monarch of the Seas". In 2009, they intend to move "Mariner" to the Port of Los Angeles, and to transfer the convert|154000|ST "Freedom of the Seas" to Port Canaveral from Port of Miami-Dade. Also in 2009, Carnival Cruise lines has announced its intention to move the convert|130000|ST Carnival Dream to Port Canaveral.


Fiscal year 2007-8 started slowly. There was a 44.5% drop in cargo in October and November compared with the preceding year. Multiday cruise passengers dropped 14.4%, and gambling passengers dropped 23.7%. Cargo slowdown was attributed to a slowdown in construction in Florida due to the weakened housing market.

Cement imports, tied to construction, was convert|13917|ST, a drop of 87.6% for the two month comparison with the previous year. Petroleum, the ports largest single import, was convert|129256|ST, a drop of 25% over the same period. [cite book | author = Blake, Scott|title = Port sees decrease in cargo and cruising | publisher = Florida Today | date = January 16, 2008]


The SeaFest seafood festival was first held in 1983. [cite book | author = Balancia, Donna |title = SeaFest short on funding, canceled | publisher = Florida Today | date = March 11, 2008] The celebration occurred over three days in early spring, and was co-hosted by the Cocoa Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and the Canaveral Port Authority. It featured live music, local artists, and seafood. In 2005, the final year of the festival at the port, convert|5000|lb of freshly caught fish, including flounder, Florida rock shrimp, blue crab claws and convert|100|USgal of seafood chowder were consumed at the festival. In 2006, because of security concerns and the site being needed for cargo, the festival was forced to move elsewhere and was renamed. In 2008 it tried to move back but was canceled.

Future plans

The Canaveral Port Authority announced in 2006 [http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060122/OPINION/601220310/1004 several plans for the future]
* a fuel-tank depot with a pipeline to Orlando International Airport
* attracting a mega-cruise ship ("Freedom of the Seas" will move there in 2009 [ [http://www.portcanaveral.org/general/news/031908a.php Port Canaveral ] ] )
* widening of the port's channel
* enlarging the western turning basin
* construction of an additional cruise terminal

Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that the new convert|130000|ST Carnival Dream – the largest Carnival has ever constructed – will be based at Port Canaveral, Fla., beginning in fall 2009. [ [http://www.carnivalconnections.com/cruisetalk/blogs/carnivalnews/archive/2008/04/23/new-130-000-ton-carnival-dream-to-be-based-at-port-canaveral.aspx Carnival connections.com] ]


External links

* [http://www.portcanaveral.org Canaveral Port Authority]
* [http://www.portcanaveral.org/port50/port_history.htm Port Canaveral History]
* [http://www.portcanaveral.org/port50/Port_Timeline.pdf Port Canaveral Timeline] ("In pdf format")
* [http://www.cruisecanaveral.com/ Port Canaveral Cruises]
* [http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/conops/structures/locks/canaveral/can.htm Canaveral Lock]
* [http://www.port-canaveral-transportation.net/port-canaveral-frame-l.php Live Cam from Port Canaveral]

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