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PortMiami traffic with Asia rises 11%

PortMiami, which was dredged to 50 feet last year in anticipation of a widened Panama Canal, can now welcome up to six Post-Panamax vessels a week, which has translated into an uptick in the port’s cargo business side of operations.
Asian service and volumes rose 11% in 2016 alone, said Assistant Port Director Kevin Lynskey.

The composition of Asian cargo represents higher value and the commodities include electronics, furniture and apparel, which are typically consumed in Florida, according to a PortMiami-commissioned study released this week.
The growth in the cargo side of the business comes as a result of $1.3 billion in capital infrastructure investments made to handle larger Post-Panamax ships, according to the port.
The recently completed development project included construction of the PortMiami tunnel that provides direct access between the marine terminals and the US Interstate highway system, the modernizing of the on-dock intermodal rail and the acquisition of four new Super Post-Panamax Gantry Cranes that can handle larger cargo ships.
The project’s most notable facet was the deepening of the shipping channel to 50 feet in anticipation of the opening of a widened Panama Canal, which doubled the canal’s capacity by adding a new lane of traffic allowing for a larger number of ships.
“Just before the canal opened we had an uptick at the port that was mostly related to West Coast labor problems,” said Mr. Lynskey.
“When the West Coast labor problems happened, importers took the opportunity to start sending products to the East Coast,” he said. Then, after the new canal locks opened, “importers decided [to] keep sending more stuff through the canal,” keeping East Coast activity strong.
As a result, he said, PortMiami “picked up traffic just before and just after the canal opened.”
In 2016, $36 billion of economic output in Florida was related to cargo activity at PortMiami.

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