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Port Everglades In 2038: New Vision Plans For More Efficient Growth

Port Everglades
Courtesy of Port Everglades
Port Everglades will get more space for more ships as part of the new Master/Vision Plan.

More cranes, cars, cargo and cruise ships: The Port Everglades of 2038 could look a lot different than it does now. 

More than 50 people and employees at the port piled into the Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood Thursday night to hear a presentation on the proposed updates to the port's 20-year Master/Vision Plan. 

The plan was originally adopted in 2008 and it gets updated every three to five years. The last time an updated plan was adopted by the Broward County commission was in 2014. 

"We're here to get your input before we move forward," the port's acting director, Glenn Wiltshire, told the room.

Updating the port's master plan for the third time began in 2018. The process looks at the level of expected activity that the port should plan its future infrastructure around. 

It's also a chance to update market projections for the goods that come in and out of the port, such as fuels, cargo, perishable food and cars. Consultants expect more jet fuel to come into the port in the next 20 years.

Some of the biggest considerations for the new Port Everglades vision include increasing capacity and efficiency, and preserving the environment.  

"The goals are to look at where do we want to be in 20 years, and then how do you get there?" Wiltshire said. "So, we're looking at opportunities for efficiency at the port, we're looking at how do you handle the capacity that we know is coming — and then how do you do it in a way that's environmentally sustainable." 

That means lots of construction to reconfigure how the land is currently used. The plan is broken down into 5-, 10- and 20-year chunks, with the first five years being front loaded with a lot of the construction. 

Expanding the turning notch for ships in the Southport is already underway.  

"Having larger ships bringing more cargo in — that equals more jobs," Wiltshire said. "The intent of the plan is to continue to grow the port but grow it in a smart way that adds more jobs, adds more economic activity for the region."

The public outreach meeting was the second and last before the proposed plans go to the county commission. Wiltshire anticipates that will happen in March.

Former Dania Beach City Commissioner Bob Mikes said at the meeting he was a little relieved the environment is being considered more than he expected.

Port employees discussed a 75 percent recycling goal as a part of the presentation, as well as removing invasive vegetation — and planting native species where they can. 

"With growth you tend to lose on the environment," he said. "I was a little afraid that they were gonna go, you know, start destroying some things I fought to preserve years ago, but it could be a lot worse."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging and widening project at the port, which has long concerned environmental groups, is also moving forward. 

The port maintained in its 2018 commerce report that deeper channels are needed to safely accommodate increasingly larger cargo ships.  The estimated cost is more than $437 million.

"The Corps of Engineers is finishing up on some additional environmental work that was requested to look at the impacts on corals and seagrass," Wiltshire said told WLRN Thursday night. "We expect that to be done later this year. We're hoping to get federal funding ... and to be able to start the project by the end of the year."

Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.
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