“The ability to be very flexible in the type of vessel we handle will be very important to Port Everglades’ future,” said Steve Cernak, chief executive and port director. “The ships continue to get larger and we need to stay in front of that curve.
“One of the things we recognize to keep our position is that we need to invest,” he said. “We have a series of projects moving forward to accommodate larger and newer cruise ships.”
Cernak has led a number of projects to prepare for bigger ships, including significant renovations to Terminal 4, which received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for energy-efficient improvements.
Of note, the port also has global entry access for U.S. citizens who are in the program, giving them expedited processing on disembarkation.
This year, slip two will be lengthened by 250 feet to accommodate bigger ships, an $18 million investment. Terminal 25 will get a $25 million upgrade, with work starting this year. For passengers, $180,000 in WiFi improvements will drive connectivity in the terminals.
With a record amount of tonnage on order, Cernak is preparing for the future.
“We have to make sure we have the facilities in place to handle (the bigger ships),” he added.
“Our business plan is clear. We’re taking the necessary steps to promote growth and part of that is to provide adequate facilities.”
Traffic is holding steady just under 4 million passengers, said Cernak, who added despite three South Florida ports competing, all were growing.