The following is the text of a news release from the Canaveral Port Authority:
(PORT CANAVERAL, Fla.) — GT USA’s new Canaveral Cargo Terminal (CCT), the only dedicated container terminal at Port Canaveral, opened for business June 12 with an unveiling ceremony and maiden call of the CMA CGM Jamaica witnessed by more than 200 local, state, national and international public officials and leaders of business and trade.
Peter Richards, GT USA CEO, announced Canaveral Cargo Terminal is ready to receive cargo, a milestone for the port, GT USA and its Gulftainer parent based in the United Arab Emirates.
Canaveral Port Authority Commission Chairman Jerry Allender opened the ceremony by saying, “Today, we usher in a new cargo era at Port Canaveral. This historic partnership will facilitate much-needed jobs for our area with GT USA ‘s commitment to invest $100 million in infrastructure, equipment and local employees.”
Celebrating 61 years of operations, Port Canaveral handles approximately 4 million tons of cargo a year and is the second-busiest cruise port in the world behind Miami.
“This new state-of-the-art facility is ready to get to work with two berths, two cranes and 20 acres on which to grow,” said GT USA’s Richards. "In Gulftainer's partnership with the Port Authority, it's our policy to partner with the entire community. We are here today to partner with you to make this a world-class, second-to-none container terminal servicing the region, the nation and beyond.”
Yousef Al Otaiba, ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States of America, affirmed the global support of Port Canaveral’s strategic plan and its collaboration with GT USA to become an important player in the container industry.
He was joined by Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally, executive director of SelectUSA, part of the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce; Richard Biter, assistant secretary, Florida Department of Transportation; and Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and vice chairman of Gulftainer’s Executive Board.
The cargo terminal opening comes just a year after Canaveral Port Authority signed a 35-year agreement with GT USA, the U.S. business of privately-owned international port operator Gulftainer, to operate and further develop the container and multipurpose cargo terminal. GT USA, which has established its North American headquarters at the Canaveral Port Authority offices, expects to contribute more than $630 million to the local economy, creating 2,000 direct and indirect jobs when fully operational.
“We are excited to congratulate the Canaveral Port Authority and GT USA on their partnership. This new investment is an economic win for the port, the State of Florida, thousands of workers, and their families, ” said SelectUSA’s Thummalapally. “Gulftainer’s decision to expand operations at Port Canaveral is further proof that there has never been a better time to invest in America.”
Canaveral Cargo Terminal, which begins operations with a twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) cargo capacity of 200,000 TEUs, has ambitious plans to triple capacity to 750,000 TEUs. An ideal gateway for container shipping to the Florida market and beyond, CCT provides an excellent connection to Central Florida’s bustling consumption centers and growing number of distribution centers. The terminal is able to turn around cargo imported into Port Canaveral to the Orlando area within one to two hours, the fastest transit time when compared to other container terminals in the state.
The unveiling of the Canaveral Cargo Terminal and first container movements by the gantry cranes included the maiden call of the CMA CGM Jamaica, a 264-meter cargo vessel with a capacity of 4,298 TEUs that berthed at the port to be part of Florida shipping history before crossing the Atlantic. A longtime business partner of Gulftainer, CMA CGM is one of the world’s leading shipping companies moving cargo in ports around the world.
“We have earned a position in the top tier of the world’s fastest, most efficient, most secure port operators. We are not stopping. We aim to triple our global cargo capacity by 2020 in 35 terminals across five continents. Our GT USA operations at Port Canaveral, our headquarters in North America, are a big part of that picture,” GT USA’s Richards said.