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Port Canaveral Begins Work on Renovated Cargo Berth to Expand Capacity

Port Canaveral begins construction of new cargo facility for expansion
North Cargo Berth 3 is being rebuilt to replace an obsolete berth (Canaveral Port Authority))

Published Mar 25, 2022 8:48 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Canaveral Port Authority marked the beginning of a new project designed to expand the port’s cargo facilities to keep up with the growth in volumes and future opportunities. A ceremonial groundbreaking on March 25 marked the official start of a $48 million project to rebuild Port Canaveral’s North Cargo Berth 3. The Port Canaveral Cargo Berth Rehabilitation and Modernization project is a significant component of the port’s capital investment plan to ensure the Port’s competitive position.

“This berth project is critical to expand our abilities to accommodate a growing and very diverse cargo business portfolio,” said Captain John Murray, Port Director and CEO. “After a couple of difficult years, it’s great to be back and, once again, building our future on a solid foundation of current business and a wide horizon of new opportunities.”

Built in 1976, North Cargo Berth 3 has been out of service since 2014. The original over-water pier design in combination with the increasing size of today’s commercial vessels and the port’s growing cargo diversity made the berth functionally obsolete. 

It will be replaced with an 880-foot-long multi-purpose wharf that ensures the necessary channel width to accommodate larger vessels simultaneously at berth. When completed in April 2023, the North Cargo Berth 3 will be capable of accommodating vessels up to 984 feet long and with a width of up to 135 feet.

Demolition of the existing pier began in December 2021. In addition to removing the existing concrete berth that extended into the waterway, the bulkhead will be removed or abandoned in place and they expect to move approximately 105,500 cubic yards of dredged material in creating the new berth.

Interviewed by a local TV station, Murphy said “We have more cargo that could come here; we just don’t have the capabilities and facilities to handle it right now.” Murray previously reported that the port had a “very, very robust year in the cargo sector” in FY 2021.

Port Canaveral’s cargo business set record numbers with 489 cargo ship calls in 2020-2021. Cargo revenue totaled over $11 million, topping previous records, and continued strong at the start of the new fiscal year. Since October 2021, 160 cargo ships have moved through the port, generating $5 million in revenue.

The port has a broad base of facilities permitting it to handle containers as well as breakbulk and Ro/Ro. The port also has a unique project capability handling large items both for the diverse local manufacturing community as well as the region’s aerospace programs. The port also expanded its oil handling facilities reporting that nearly four million tons of dry and liquid bulk cargo are handled annually at Port Canaveral, including petroleum, aggregates, salt, and slag. Last year, the port saw particularly strong volumes for lumber and other construction-related commodities.

At its September 2021 meeting, the Canaveral Port Authority commissioners awarded a $48.07 million contract to Titusville, Fla.-based RUSH Marine for the NCB3 project that also involves local Brevard County-area subcontractors including Chrome Electric, Franklin Services of Brevard, and WLS Utilities. The Canaveral Port Authority was awarded a $14 million 2019 Port Infrastructure Development Program grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. The Florida Department of Transportation is supporting the North Cargo Berth 3 project with $33 million in state grant funding.