Port Canaveral reveals $500M plan for new terminals, more



Port Canaveral has big plans for the next 20 years as it prepares to capitalize on the growth in cruise demands, space business, recreational uses and more.

The Canaveral Port Authority hosted a masterplan update on Oct. 16 that showed more than $500 million in improvements the port will undergo through 2040. Those improvements include multiple cruise terminals, a space port, a new transportation center, recreational and park areas, restaurants and fishing areas.

The new plan is to help the port support current users, grow the cruise business, segregate cargo business from cruise business, provide the emerging aerospace industry with broad support and, ultimately, use the port as a catalyst for private sector growth, said Luis Ajamil, president and CEO of Bermello Ajamil & Partners, an architecture, engineering and design firm working with the port, during the Oct. 16 presentation.

Here's a list of what to expect over the next 20 years:

  • Cruise improvements: Three new terminals — existing terminals average $150 million to build — will be needed to meet increased cruise demands by 2037. The first would come online by 2020, another within 2022-2023 and a third by 2027-2030. In addition, growth could result in yet another terminal needed by 2040, but that may need to be determined by a future masterplan update. Two of the new terminals would be built in a single structure on the eastern side of the port and could serve two docked ships. Another terminal could be added to the western side of the port near the existing cruise terminals 5, 8 and 10.
  • Cargo improvements: The port would plan growth areas for bulk cargo and automotive products. Those areas, as well as general cargo business, primarily would be re-organized to allow for other spaces to be used for new business. One of those new businesses would accommodate growth in space industry.
  • Spaceport: Three new areas for the space commercial users like SpaceX and Blue Origin. The spaceport would have areas to offload rockets, land to support those operations and two new docking areas for the space-related vessels — possibly the drone ships used to recover rockets. Those new areas would be on the northern part of thport near the existing SpaceX facilities.
  • Commercial area upgrades: Improvements to The Cove shopping and dining area that will provide a new inlet to the manmade lake where the Exploration Tower exists. That new lake area then could add up to five new lakeside restaurants. In addition, Exploration Tower could have a new conference center/auditorium space addition that would be able to serve groups of up to 500 people, with a dining room and food and beverage services.
  • Port Central: A new transportation center that can cater to buses and public and private commuter services. In addition, the center would have a consolidated rental car facility and additional parking for overflow from port terminal parking areas. That area also could have some shops and/or eateries.

Other planned improvements include updating the bridges and roadways used to access the port. In addition, a new Central Park-type area could be added near The Cove called 'Cove Park" that would provide outdoor event space.

The masterplan takes into account that Port Canaveral already has seen rapid success in the past 30 years and nothing is too far-fetched, Tom Weinberg, chairman of the Canaveral Port Authority, told Orlando Business Journal. "The plan has so many components and pieces, and each with an individual cost, that each probably will rise to different levels of priority. The board will try to break down the plan into large component pieces and basically go from there in terms of determining what moves forward and what may not."

It may take a couple of months to determine which portions of the project will be tackled first. Weinberg said the board may have a chance in December to make suggestions and take action on the masterplan.

As of today, he said the upgrades to the cruise business and the spaceport are among the top of his list, as both are huge revenue generators for the port. In addition, he said the recreational upgrades to the port may not be as lucrative, but serving the community is a major goal. "One thing we take pride in is no other port in Florida has recreational uses. None. We have more parks and boat ramps than the other Florida ports combined — we are proud of that."

Port Canaveral is a huge economic engine for Central Florida. The port provides the region with various goods such as fuel for airplanes and bulk commodities. Most notably, the port is a major driver for millions of cruise tourists and now is also an avenue for the future growth of the commercial space industry.

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