Part of that picture is the larger vessels coming online and replacing the older inefficient vessels.Q: I know that some cruise lines have shifted their ships to Miami recently and others have gone to Miami instead of here...What’s your take on why this is happening and does it concern you? Are you trying to do anything to mitigate that or to change that or are you satisfied with the cruise traffic that you have here?
There are business reasons why those shifts occur, and it has to do with my previous comment of needing more berth space. Cruise ships are getting larger. We have to fit them in on the facilities that we have. We have a master vision plan that the county has approved that contemplates improvements in berth lengths at certain cruise facilities and certainly the four terminals that are being renovated right now are part of that too.
Cruise has been very successful at Port Everglades, it will continue to be so. There will continue to be opportunities. But it’s also incumbent on us here to continue to invest in the facilities and provide the state-of-the-art facilities that are needed to allow that cruise growth to occur.
In the cases of the recent redeployments to Miami . . . they had berth capacity there that we did not have on the days that were required. That’s tied in to what I said about berth capacity and other needed improvements. But as in everything, it’s a very fluid dynamic process and there will be opportunities to grow it further in the upcoming years.Q. I know in the past there’s been talk of competition — and I think it’s couched usually as friendly competition — between Port Everglades and the Port of Miami. Is that a reality, is that still in place?
You know, friendly competition is good. But I will say that upon my arrival, [PortMiami director Bill] Johnson reached out to me and we’ve had several discussions where I’ve come away with the belief that we both want the same thing. We want what’s best for South Florida, the South Florida market. If we have a pie that’s a certain size and I have my slice of the pie, even if my slice of the pie doesn’t grow in size, if I grow the pie larger, naturally my piece will be larger. I’m comfortable in saying that Mr. Johnson has the same mindset. We’re going to try to establish initiatives going forward to grow the market collectively.
Will that lead to certain consolidations and move by tenants? They’re going to make those decisions themselves and we’ll have to accept those when they occur. But as long as the longer vision of both ports is to grow the overall market bigger, I think there’s plenty for both of us to share.
I think we have to push the idea of the South Florida market. . . . I think it has some value to the region when we’re trying to attract new business, politically it has value when people recognize it’s South Florida, and certainly if we add all our numbers together it’ll show the true size of the region.