Port Canaveral, Florida

Port Canaveral, Florida

This article is about the port. For the city, see Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Port Canaveral
Country  United States
Location Brevard County, Florida
Opened 1953
Operated by Port Canaveral
Annual cargo tonnage 2,700,000 tons
Passenger traffic 2.8 million
Canaveral Port Authority
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Port Canaveral

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World Heritage Encyclopedia:WikiProject Florida

Port Canaveral is a cruise, cargo and naval port in Brevard County, Florida, United States. It is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world with nearly 2.8 million multi-day cruise passengers passing through during 2010. As a deep water cargo port, it has a high volume of traffic. Over 3,000,000 short tons (2,700,000 t) of bulk cargo moves through each year. Common cargo includes cement, petroleum and aggregate. The port has conveyors and hoppers for loading products directly into trucks, and facilities for bulk cargo containers. The channel is about 44 feet (13 m) deep.[1]

There is 750,000 square feet (70,000 m2) of covered freight storage capacity. It handled 4,000,000 short tons (3,600,000 t) of cargo in 2004. The port exports fresh citrus; bulk frozen citrus juice stored in one of the largest freezer warehouses in the state; cement and building materials. The port receives lumber, salt for water softening, automobiles, and steel sheet and plate. It transships items for land, sea, air and space. Port Canaveral's Foreign Trade Zone is among the largest general purpose FTZs in the nation - over 5 square miles (13 km2). The port boosts Brevard's economy by 1/2 billion dollars annually.

In April 2007, shipping was off 25.6% for the previous six months compared to the previous year, down to 295,965 short tons (268,495 t) per months.[2] This had risen to 401,544 short tons (364,275 t) in August 2010.[3]

Ten ships, on average, enter the port each day.[4]

Governing authority

The Canaveral Port Authority was established in 1953 by the State Legislature and consists of the Board of Commissioners and the Executive Management Team. The Board sets policies such as fiscal, regulatory, and operations, while the executives are responsible for administrative and operational duties.

The five Commissioners of the Board are elected from the surrounding area by popular vote. They must live in specific areas, but are elected by voters in all five districts. The races are partisan.
District 1 (Kennedy Space Center / Titusville) - Jerry Allender
District 2 (Area between Titusville and Cocoa and west of the US 1) - Joe D. Matheny
District 3 (Cocoa / Rockledge) - Frank Sullivan
District 4 (East of the US 1 and Cape Canaveral) - Robert "Bruce" Deardoff appointed by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to fill vacant seat until elections are held in November 2010. Deardoff sworn in on 3/3/2010.
District 5 (Port Canaveral / Cocoa Beach) - Thomas Weinberg

Salary is $10,083.72 annually.

The Executive Management Team is headed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Chief Executive Officer (appointed) - J. Stanley Payne (terminated 3/27/2013)
Interim Chief Executive Officer (appointed) - John Walsh
Chief Operations and Public Safety / Chief of Police - Joe Hellebrand
Deputy Executive Director / Chief Financial Officer - Jeff Long
Deputy Executive Director / Infrastructure - John Walsh

In 2013, there were 233 staff members, 162 full-time, 71 part-time. There has been a 95% turnover in staff from 2009-2013 prompting some concern.[5]


A post office in the area was built and listed in the US Post Office application as Artesia.[6] and retained this name from 1893–1954; and then went into service for Port Canaveral from 1954-1962.

Dredging a port

The idea of developing a port at this location was first conceived in the 1880s. The port was dredged between 1951 and 1955.[1]

Dedication occurred November 4th, 1953, with the navy destroyer escort USS McClelland (DE-750) participating. Florida U.S. Senator Spessard Holland was the keynote speaker.

Noah Butts, a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, was the first Chairman of the Canaveral Port Authority.[7] The first port manager, George King, was announced in 1954. Commercial fishing had already begun at the port, and in the next year commercial shipping began, with a load of bagged cement delivered by the SS Morman Spruce. In 1955, the Tropicana Corporation began building a refrigerated warehouse for storing orange juice, a local agricultural product, prior to shipping.

Cruise traffic appeared at the port in 1964, with the SS Yarmouth Castle, recently purchased by Yarmouth Cruise Lines from the Chadade Steamship Company. The ship was American owned, with registration from Panama. The ship burned at sea between Miami and Nassau, Bahamas in 1965, and cruise traffic was limited until the 1980s.

In 1965, a lock was dedicated at the port, as part of the Canaveral Barge Canal. The Canaveral Lock is still in operation, and is maintained by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The focus of the port throughout the 1960s and 1970s remained commercial fishing and shipping, with three 400-foot (120 m) cargo piers built on the north side of the Port in 1976, and a succession of warehouses built in the port area. Port Canaveral has played a role in support of NASA projects out of nearby John F. Kennedy Space Center. During the Apollo program, segments of the Saturn V rocket transited through the port and lock. Most recently he Space Shuttle's external tanks were floated into Port Canaveral for each mission, and the solid rocket boosters were towed back through Port Canaveral after being fished out of the Atlantic Ocean after each launch. NASA contributed $250,000 for improvements in the lock in 1965.[8]

Prior to its disestablishment in 2000, Premier Cruise Line was headquartered in Cape Canaveral.[9][10]

In September 2005, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) diverted one cruise line from Canaveral (under contract) to shelter Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

In 2008, Sterling Casino Lines ceased doing business at the port.[11] But just a week later, the Las Vegas Casino Line began operating gambling cruises. On March 25, 2009 the Las Vegas Casino Line filed for bankruptcy, joining the Sterling Casino on the list of failed 'Casino Lines' to operate out of Port Canaveral.

In 2009, a commissioner resigned and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced that it was conducting an investigation into possible corruption at the port.[12]

In 2009, the last company to offer gambling, SunCruz Casinos, filed for bankruptcy, Chapter 7. The companies failed due to competition from land-based gambling activities in Seminole Casinos, and Greyhound racing venues. Gambling liners hit a high on 1.0 million passengers in 2004, before starting to decline.[13] Casino operations generated about $5–$6 million annually for the port.[14]

Cruise traffic

Carnival, Disney, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean International, are some of the cruise lines which dock at one of the six cruise terminals. The port hosted 109,175 multi-day cruise passengers in October 2008. There was a high of 307,005 passengers in April 2009. This fell to a seasonal low of 221,557 in October. With the loss of daily gambling ship cruises, port authorities do not expect this high to be exceeded for some time.[15] There were 2.8 million passengers in 2010.[16]

In the early 1980s, a new port director, Charles Rowland, shifted the focus towards developing the port to a Cruise port. In 1982, a 20,000 square feet (2,000 m2) warehouse on the north side of the port was converted into Cruise Terminal 1. The SS Scandinavian Sea, a 10,427 ton ship, was the first cruise ship to home-port at Port Canaveral. Early cruises were simple day cruises out into the ocean and back. The Port then purchased two former Bicentennial exhibit halls from NASA in 1983 and they became Terminals 2 and 3 in 1983. The following year the SS Royale of Premier Cruise Line was home-ported at Port Canaveral. The first year-round 3- and 4-day cruises to the Bahamas began. A fourth cruise terminal was Built in 1986. Expansion into the Western Turning Basin began with the construction of Terminal 5. The Carnival Fantasy started sailing from there at that time becoming the first mega-ship to call the Port home.

Ships based out of Port Canaveral

As of July 2013, the following cruise ships home-port at Port Canaveral:
Carnival Sensation (Carnival Cruise Lines) sailing Thursdays and Sundays
Carnival Ecstasy (Carnival Cruise Lines) sailing every other Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Carnival Dream (Carnival Cruise Lines) sailing Saturdays
Norwegian Sun (Norwegian Cruise Lines) sailing Saturdays
Disney Dream (Disney Cruise Lines) sailing Sundays,Thursdays,and Fridays
Disney Fantasy (Disney Cruise Lines) sailing Saturdays
Freedom of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) sailing Sundays
Enchantment of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) sailing Fridays and Mondays

Ships that visit Port Canaveral

The following ships make or will make regular stops to Port Canaveral:
Carnival Pride (Carnival Cruise Lines) visits every other Wednesday
Carnival Miracle (Carnival Cruise Lines) visits every Monday (November - April only beginning in 2012)
Disney Magic (Disney Cruise Line) is scheduled to visit on select Tuesdays between January-May 2013
Disney Wonder (Disney Cruise Line) visits every other Tuesdays beginning September 2013
Norwegian Gem (Norwegian Cruise Lines) visits every Monday
Explorer of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International) few visits between 2011, 2012 & 2013 on Saturday or Monday
Enchantment of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International) few visits between 2011, 2012 & 2013 on Monday

Ships Coming Soon

Carnival Cruise Lines made Port Canaveral home-port for its new ship, the 130,000 ton Carnival Dream in December 2009 after several European cruises following its September launch. Norwegian Cruise Line announced that beginning in October 2010, the Norwegian Sun will be home-ported at Port Canaveral, offering winter (October to April) 7-night cruises alternating eastern and western itineraries.[17] Carnival announced on March 10, 2011 that beginning in November 2011 the Carnival Ecstasy will be based out Port Canaveral sail four- and five-day cruises.

Royal Caribbean International announced that the Monarch of the Seas will be transferred to its Pullmantur Cruises subsidiary. The Monarch moved out of Port Canaveral in 2013, and the Enchantment of the Seas replaced her.

Carnival announced in early 2012, that the Carnival Splendor will replace the Carnival Miracle, resuming all her planned cruises. It also announced that the Carnival Sunshine and the Carnival Liberty will be home ported in Port Canaveral beginning in the spring of 2014.

In 2011, there were seven ships homebased at the port with a total capacity of 21,000 passengers. There are six terminals.[16]

US Navy

In 2011, the support ship USNS Waters (T-AGS-45) was homeported at the port.[18]

The Trident Turning Basin supports Navy ballistic missile submarines.[19]


In 2011, about 75% of cargo was fuel. Overall tonnage rose 40% ahead of 2010.[20]

In fiscal year 2007-8, there was a 44.5% drop in cargo in October and November compared with the preceding year. Multiday cruise passengers dropped 14.4%, and gambling passengers dropped 23.7%. Cargo slowdown was attributed to a slowdown in construction in Florida due to the weakened housing market. In 2008, cruise passengers held fairly steady at about 200,000 per month for the year.[21]

In 2007, cement imports, tied to construction, was 13,917 short tons (12,625 t), a drop of 87.6% for the two-month comparison with the previous year.[22] Petroleum, the ports largest single import, was 129,256 short tons (117,259 t), a drop of 25% over the same period.[23] The port handled 11.3 million barrels (1,800,000 m3) of petroleum, equivalent to 473 million US gallons (1,790,000 m3) of fuel in 2010.[24]

Carnival has 140 employees resident at the port.[25]

The channel leading to the port is 400 feet (120 m) wide and 3.5 miles (5.6 km) long.[26]


The SeaFest seafood festival was first held in 1983.[27] The celebration occurred over three days in early spring, and was co-hosted by the Cocoa Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and the Canaveral Port Authority. It featured live music, local artists, and seafood. In 2005, the final year of the festival at the port, 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) of freshly caught fish, including flounder, Florida rock shrimp, blue crab claws and 100 US gallons (380 l; 83 imp gal) of seafood chowder were consumed at the festival. In 2006, because of security concerns and the site being needed for cargo, the festival was forced to move elsewhere and was renamed. In 2008 it tried to move back but was canceled.


The Canaveral Port Authority announced in 2006 plans for the future:[28]

  • Seaport Canaveral - Vitol SA built a fuel-tank depot with a pipeline to Orlando International Airport. This is a 36 acres (15 ha), 117 US gallons (440 l; 97 imp gal) million storage. It cost $150 million. This was completed in 2010.[29]
  • Attracting a mega-cruise ship (Freedom of the Seas and Carnival Dream in 2009 and Disney Dream in 2011)
  • Widening of the port's channel
  • Enlarging the western turning basin
  • Construction of an additional cruise terminal
  • Expansion of the Disney Cruise line terminal as well as a new parking garage with a direct second level walkway to the terminal.
  • New - Cruise Terminal 6 opened Mid 2012, for Carnival Dream, Carnival Senestion, other carnival ship


Every year about 200,000 cubic yards (150,000 m3) of sand builds up from 1 to 2 miles (1.6 to 3.2 km) north of the port's jetties., negatively impacting the beaches 10 to 15 miles (16 to 24 km) south of the jetties. The federal government (the Corps of Engineers) is responsible for reversing this impact.[1]


External links

  • Canaveral Port Authority
  • Canaveral Lock
  • Port Canaveral Webcam
  • Port Canaveral History
  • Port Canaveral Timeline (In pdf format)

Coordinates: 28°25′N 80°37′W / 28.41°N 80.61°W / 28.41; -80.61