Business activity is up at Broward County’s Port Everglades by nearly 10 percent and the number of direct jobs by 13 percent, according to a recently updated economic impact study by internationally recognized maritime research company Martin Associates comparing figures from fiscal years 2010 and 2011 (October 1 through September 30). Martin’s study is based on customized models developed for Port Everglades for both the cruise and cargo sectors.

“This is an optimistic sign that economic recovery is taking place in South Florida,” says Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director Steve Cernak. “For example, this past year, we added 41 acres of space for container terminal yards through long-term agreements with SeaFreight Agencies and Crowley Liner Services. Although we still have a way to go to reach our record 2008 levels for container cargo activity, our numbers are climbing steadily.”

The total value of regional economic activity resulting from business at Port Everglades rose to nearly $15.3 billion in FY2011 from $14 billion in FY2010.

As a result of the increased business activity in both cruise and cargo, the economic model estimates that an additional 1,260 new direct jobs were supported by businesses operating at Port Everglades during FY2012, which generated approximately $58 million in wages and salaries.

More than 160,000 Florida jobs are impacted by the Port, including more than 11,400 people who work for companies that provide direct services at Port Everglades. In addition, $541.8 million of state and local taxes were generated by activity at the cargo and cruise terminals, including $387.4 million generated by the related users throughout the state.

Much of the total increase can be attributed to growth in the container cargo sector where several terminal operators saw double-digit volume increases in the number of containers shipped through the Port. Chiquita, which mainly handles bananas and plantains, recorded a 22 percent increase in business. Florida International Terminal, which handles shipments from a variety of ocean container cargo lines calling on countries in Latin America and the Mediterranean, had a 22.9 percent increase. Also, King Ocean had a 23 percent increase in cargo from countries throughout the Caribbean and Northern South America.

Increases in cruise passenger activity contributed to the upturn in Port Everglades cruise impacts, according to the Martin study. Between the FY2010 and FY2011 period, Port Everglades cruise passengers increased by 278,617 passengers from 3,674,226 in FY2010 to 3,952,843 (7.6 percent) in FY2011. Specifically, multi-day passenger activity increased by 349,895 passengers (10.6 percent), while daily cruise passenger activity decreased by 71,278 (19.8 percent) due a decline in passengers of Discovery Cruise Lines, which ultimately ceased operations in September 2011. Passengers per average vessel call on multi-day cruises continued to increase from 2,300 in FY2010 to 2,700 in FY2011, due to larger capacity vessels calling Port Everglades, particularly the year-round weekly services of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.