Coming off a record cruise year, PortMiami announced $33 million in State grants have been allocated to it over the next five years.

This is another important step that will help the Port better respond to the next generation of cruise and cargo business, according to a prepared release.

Approximately 4.98 million cruise passengers sailed through PortMiami, a new world record.

The positive performance report comes as PortMiami starts to receive the bigger ships that are already transiting via the expanded Panama Canal. Some $1.3 billion were invested to dredge and widen PortMiami’s shipping channel to -50/-52 ft., complete a new port tunnel to speed vehicular traffic, acquire four Super-Post-Panamax cranes and build an on-port rail link. The Port is big ship ready, and it anticipates continued growth as some of the world’s largest ocean carriers have formed alliances and deployed bigger vessels for their international shipping routes. Additionally, cruise line partners have also announced their plans to expand business at the Port.

Royal Caribbean Cruises has started work on a $200 million expansion that includes a new cruise terminal as part of a public-private partnership. Carnival Cruise Lines’ Vista and Regent Seven Seas’ Explorer are scheduled to arrive this winter. MSC Cruises plans to homeport its MSC Seaside in Miami beginning in the winter of 2017.

Virgin Voyages will bring one of their three new ships to PortMiami and start offering seven-day vacations to the Caribbean in 2020.

The $33 million in State grant allocations will also help fund the expansion to Cruise Terminal F into a mega cruise facility able to process more than 5,000 cruise passengers at a time.

“I want to thank our State and local leaders for their support in securing the $33 million in future State grant allocations for PortMiami,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. "Our Port is a vital economic engine for not only Miami-Dade County, but all of South Florida and its continued growth represents thousands of jobs and increased opportunities for our community.”