Port Everglades

Port Everglades is a seaport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, located in Broward County. Port Everglades is one of South Florida's foremost economic centers, as it is the gateway for both international trade and cruise vacations. In 2018, Port Everglades was ranked the third busiest cruise home port in the world, accommodating more than 3.8 million passengers.[1] It was also the busiest container port in Florida and 10th busiest in the United States, moving more than 1 million TEUs annually.[2]

Port Everglades
Aerial Shot of Port Everglades
CountryUnited States
LocationBroward County, Florida
Coordinates26°5′10″N 80°6′55″W
Operated byPort Everglades
Owned byBroward County, FL
Type of harborNatural/Artificial
Available berths33
Acting Chief Executive/Port DirectorGlenn A. Wiltshire
Vessel arrivals4,029
Annual cargo tonnage25,301,771
Annual container volume7.2 million tons
Passenger traffic3.86 million
Annual revenue$168 million
Net income$74 million
Business activity$30 billion

The port is also South Florida's main seaport for importing petroleum products including gasoline, jet fuel, and alternative fuels. The port serves as the primary storage and distribution seaport for refined petroleum products. Port Everglades distributes fuel to 12 Florida counties. Port Everglades is also recognized as a favorite United States Navy liberty port. With a depth of 43 feet (13 m) (at mean low water), Port Everglades is currently the deepest port in the United States (Atlantic Ocean) south of Norfolk, Virginia.[3]

The Port Everglades Department is a self-supporting Enterprise Fund of Broward County Government with operating revenues of approximately $168 million in Fiscal Year 2018. The port does not rely on local taxes for operations. The total value of economic activity at Port Everglades is approximately $30 billion annually. Approximately 230,000 Florida jobs are impacted by the Port, including more than 13,000 people who work for companies that provide direct services to Port Everglades.

Port Everglades is the #1 Seaport in Florida by Revenue, the #1 Container Port in Florida. Port Everglades was also the #3 Multi-Day Cruise Port in the World with 846 ship calls and 3.8 million passengers in 2017, and the #2 Petroleum Port in Florida with 594 ship calls and 122.3 million barrels.[4]


Port Everglades is composed of land within three municipalities, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale and Dania Beach and unincorporated Broward County.[4] Port Everglades is a manmade seaport. The port was originally dredged from Lake Mabel, a natural body of water that was a wide and shallow section of the Florida East Coast Canal system. In 1911, the Florida Board of Trade passed a resolution that called for a deep-water port. The port was originally intended to ship produce to the North and the West. In 1913, the Fort Lauderdale Harbor Company was formed and eventually dug out the Lake Mabel Cut, which opened the New River to the sea and created access for small boats.[3]

In 1924, the founder and mayor of the city of Hollywood, Florida, Joseph Wesley Young, bought 1,440 acres (5.8 km2) of land adjacent to the lake. He then created the Hollywood Harbor Development Company. Three years later, the Florida Legislature established the Broward County Port Authority. On February 22, 1928, 85 percent of Broward County's residents gathered for a ceremony in which President Calvin Coolidge was to push a button from the White House detonating explosives to remove the rock barrier separating the harbor from the Atlantic Ocean. The button malfunctioned, but the barrier was removed shortly thereafter.[5]

Bay Mabel Harbor was dedicated on February 22, 1928. Many of South Florida's local women's clubs agreed that the port needed a new name to better represent the region. They held a name changing contest, and the name Port Everglades was selected. The reason for this was as follows: "The gateway to the rich agricultural area embraced in the 4 million acres (16,000 km²) at the Port's very backdoor."[3] The container handling capacity of the port was increased with a new 41-acre (170,000 m2) terminal, completed in 2010. The expansion increased Port Everglades' freight handling area by 15%.[6]

In 2015, the US Army Corps of Engineers approved a new phase of expansion for Port Everglades that would involve deepening and widening channels. The project received federal authorization in December 2016 under the WIIN Act. The port currently serves ships from Europe and South America that are too large to fit through the Panama Canal, which is undergoing expansion, but the ships must be under a certain load to fit properly in the port. The expansion will increase main navigational channels from 42 feet to 48–50 feet and deepen and widen both the Entrance Channel and parts of the Intracoastal Waterway. It is expected that the project will be completed by 2021-2025, creating approximately 4,789 construction jobs and 1,491 direct jobs locally with an estimated cost of $389 million for the expansion. No local property taxes will be used for the project.[7][8]

Records and achievements

Seatrade Insider named Port Everglades "World's Top Cruise Port" during the 2010 Seatrade Insider Cruise Awards ceremony at the historic l'Opera in Nice, France.[9] From 2008-2014, Port Everglades was chosen as the Best U.S. Homeport by Porthole Cruise Magazine, an international cruise travel magazine. In 2015, the port lost to Miami. In 2016, Port Everglades won the award again.[10] On December 21, 2003, the port had a record 15 cruise ships.[8] No other port in the world at that time had hosted 10 or more cruise ships on a single day. The closest competitors are: Port of Barcelona with 9 ships the 26 of August 2011 Miami with 8 ships and Port of New York with 7 ships on a single day.

Port Everglades broke its own world record on November 26, 2011, with more than 53,500 guests passing through the Port in a single day.[9] The previous record was set on March 20, 2010, with 53,365 passengers.[10] In 2010, Port Everglades documented 55 cruise ships offering regularly scheduled cruises. With 15 different cruise lines, Port Everglades claims to offer more cruise lines, more sailings, and more itineraries than any other port in the world.[11]

On March 13, 2016, Port Everglades broke the world record again when the port served 55,885 cruise passengers in and out of the port. Incidentally, both records served the same eight cruise ships: the Carnival Conquest, the Celebrity Silhouette, Holland America's Eurodam, Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam, Princess' Regal Princess, Princess' Royal Princess, Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, and Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas.[11]


As of December 2012, Port Everglades is the world's third busiest cruise port after PortMiami and Port Canaveral, with more than 3.8 million annual revenue cruise passengers in 2017.[12] As of 2014-2015 Fiscal Year, approximately 50% of cruise passengers through the port were residents of the East Coast. The number 1 home for these passengers was Toronto, Canada. Four other Canadian cities were in the top 25 residences.[13]

62% of passengers stayed in South Florida for at least one night prior to the cruise. 51% of passengers came from a hotel prior to the cruise, and 21% came from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The top hotel chains that passengers stayed in included Rodeway Inn and Holiday Inn. There is one Rodeway Inn in Fort Lauderdale: Rodeway Inn and Suites, Fort Lauderdale Airport and Port Everglades Cruise Port. There are multiple Holiday Inn chains. 21% of passengers stayed overnight in South Florida after the cruise, with 46% staying in Fort Lauderdale.[13]

31% of passengers booked cruises through the website, 63% of passengers booked cruise travel separately from airfare. The mode age of cruise travelers cruising once a year was 55-64, and the mode age for those who cruise twice a year was 65-74.[13] In 2014, Port Everglades generated over $28 billion in business activity. The port also generated over 224,000 jobs throughout the state of Florida.[14] This resulted in a total of $809,333 taxes collected on the state and local level.

Notable ships

Ships sail from Port Everglades year round, but the peak season for cruise travel from Port Everglades is from November to April, with most itineraries sailing to the Western, Eastern, and Southern Caribbean. Port Everglades was once home to RMS Queen Elizabeth when she was laid up as a museum ship from 1968 until 1970.[15] Besides RMS Queen Elizabeth, Port Everglades has been used to dock many notable and famous ships. In 2004, Queen Mary 2 completed her maiden voyage and her maiden transatlantic voyage at Port Everglades.[16]

In the 21st century, Port Everglades has been the homeports for three of the largest passenger ships in the world, the Oasis-class ships, thus far. In December 2009, Royal Caribbean International began using Port Everglades as the home port for Oasis of the Seas. In late 2010, she was joined at Port Everglades by her sister ship, Allure of the Seas.[17] In April 2017, Port Everglades became the homeport for Harmony of the Seas from April 2017 until May 2019.[18][19]

In November 2018, Celebrity Edge performed its maiden call at Port Everglades.[20] In anticipation of its arrival, Port Everglades invested $120 million into the port's first-ever brand-designed cruise terminal, the largest investment that Port Everglades has made towards any cruise terminal at the port.[21] With this development, it is expected that Celebrity Cruises will bring about 500,000 travelers to Port Everglades.[20]

Influence on Broward County

Port Everglades has a large economic impact on Broward County. In 2017, the Port generated over $30 billion in business activity and over 224,000 jobs throughout the State of Florida.[22]

Port Everglades is the second largest American port for shipping goods to Cuba.[23]

There are a few hotels influenced by the Port's tourism traffic. Rodeway Inn and Suites Fort Lauderdale Airport and Port Everglades Cruise Port, located on Marina Mile, is close to the Port.[24] It is considered an affordable option for cruisers, and offers free parking and shuttle.[24] The Embassy Suites by Hilton Fort Lauderdale 17th Street is a mid-priced hotel that receives cruise traffic as well.[24]


A regular tradition of the condominium residents who live next to the channel of Port Everglades in Everglades House, Sky Harbor East and Point Of Americas I and II is to bid bon voyage to cruise ships as they embark on their voyages from Port Everglades. To wish the passengers a safe trip, the residents blow horns and ring bells, with the ships usually responding by blowing their horns back. Some residents fly flags of the ships to pay patronage to having sailed on the ship.[25]

Major milestones

  • In 1911, the Florida Board of Trade passed a resolution calling for a deep-water port to ship farmers' produce to the North and West.[3]
  • In 1913, the Fort Lauderdale Harbor Company was formed and eventually dug out the Lake Mabel Cut, opening the New River to the sea for small boats.
  • In 1924, Joseph Wesley Young, founder and mayor of the city of Hollywood, bought 1,440 acres of land adjacent to the lake and created Hollywood Harbor Development Company.[3]
  • In 1926, Young helped get a $2 million harbor improvement bond measure overwhelmingly passed by voters in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale.
  • In 1927, the Florida State Legislature establishes the Broward County Port Authority.
  • On February 22, 1928, 85 percent of Broward County's residents gathered for a ceremony in which President Calvin Coolidge was to push a button from the White House detonating explosives to remove the rock barrier separating the harbor from the ocean. Nothing happened, but the barrier was removed shortly thereafter.[3]
  • In 1928, Port Everglades was named through a contest conducted by several area women's groups.[3]
  • In 1929, Fort Lauderdale dedicated its first airport. That same year, the Port project was completed and the Port obtained certificates for construction of a railway connecting the Port to the Florida East Coast Railway.
  • In 1929, the SS Vogtland became the first cargo ship and first foreign-flagged vessel to enter Port Everglades.
  • In 1931, Port Everglades welcomed United Fruit Co., as the port's first official cruise line.
  • In 1931, Aeroland Oil Co. is the first petroleum company to enter into an agreement for land and pipeline easements. Belcher (Coastal Fuels), Standard Oil (Chevron) and American Oil (Amoco) follow suit.[5]
  • 1941-1943, Port Everglades is used as a military base for the U.S. Navy.[5]
  • In 1994, Port Everglades becomes an enterprise fund governed by Broward County.[5]
  • The 1940s saw a burgeoning military presence and the 1950s brought cruise liners from around the world to the Port. Around that time, the Fort Lauderdale Rotary Club began greeting ships with Florida orange juice. The tradition continued for 20 years.[5]
  • 1960s: The Broward County Port Authority was renamed the Port Everglades Authority and the site of the future Southport cargo terminal was purchased.[5]
  • 1970s: The Port became the center of Florida's first Foreign trade zone.[5]
  • 1980s: The Port purchased its first rail-mounted container gantry crane.[5]
  • 1990s: The Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center opened at Northport, two parking garages were completed and on November 22, 1994, Port Everglades' governance was transferred from the Port Authority to the Broward County government.[5]
  • 2000s: Port Everglades continuously breaks its own world record for handling the most cruise passengers.[5]
  • In 2001, Port Everglades dedicated a new Operations Center and Harbormaster Tower constructed atop the Midport Parking Garage. Port Everglades also celebrated its 70th cruise season hosting the world's largest collection of five star ships.[5]
  • In 2003, on February 28, port users and customers celebrated the 75th Anniversary of Port Everglades.[5]
  • In 2004, Port Everglades greeted the Queen. Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2, the world's largest ocean liner, as she made her first visit to mainland U.S. from the UK, by arriving at Port Everglades, her U.S. winter home port. QM2 is the longest, widest, tallest and most expensive ocean liner ever built.[5]
  • In 2009, Port Everglades opened the World's Largest Cruise Terminal and home of Royal Caribbean's 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world at the time.[5]
  • In 2010, Oasis of the Seas was joined by Allure of the Seas, making Port Everglades home to the two largest cruise ships in the world.[5]
  • In March 2011, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners approved an update of the Port's 20-Year Master/Vision Plan that includes key cargo expansion projects over the next six years that will add five berths, widen and deepen the channel to 50 feet and bring freight rail into the port.[5]
  • In 2012, Port Everglades was the first port in Florida to join the Green Marine program, which helps ports meet various standards to improve environmental impact and reduce the footprint of the port.[4]
  • In 2015, Port Everglades was approved for expansion by the US Army Corps of Engineers.[5]
  • In March 2016, Port Everglades broke the Guinness World Record for number of cruisers in a day at 55,885.[5]

See also


  1. "See which Florida cruise ports are among the largest in the world". bizjournals.com. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  2. "Top 10 Busiest US Ports". nreionline.com. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  3. "Port Everglades Opens". Fort Lauderdale Historical Society. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  4. "Port Everglades is South Florida's Powerhouse Port" (PDF). Broward.org. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  5. "History". porteverglades.net. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  6. "Channel Deepening and Widening Feasibility Analysis at Broward County Port Everglades" (PDF). Cloudinary.com. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  7. "Port Everglades". US Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  8. http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Navigation/Navigation-Projects/Port-Everglades/
  9. "Port Everglades Named Seatrade's Cruise Port of the Year". TravelPulse.com. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  10. "Editor-In-Chief Awards". porthole.com. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  11. "See which Florida cruise ports are among the largest in the world". bizjournals.com. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  12. Satchell, Arlene (12 December 2012). "Port Everglades slips to No. 3 Busiest Cruise Port, According to Recent Data". SunSentinel. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  13. "Cruise Survey Report 2015" (PDF). Cloudinary.com. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  14. "Economic Impact". PortEverglades.net. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  15. "RMS Queen Elizabeth". SSMaritime.com. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  16. "Queen Mary 2: The Maiden Voyage Recalled Ten Years Later". MaritimeMatters.com. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  17. "Press". PortEverglades.net. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  18. "Harmony Of The Seas - Itinerary Schedule, Current Position | CruiseMapper". www.cruisemapper.com. Retrieved 2017-06-10.
  19. "Port Canaveral Welcomes Harmony of the Seas and the Return of Mariner of the Seas". www.portcanaveral.com. 2019-05-09.
  20. Volz, David (2018-11-26). "Renovated Terminal 25 Opens, Celebrity Edge Arrives at Port Everglades • Hollywood Gazette". Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  21. Staff, C. I. N. (2018-06-21). "Celebrity Reveals Terminal 25 at Port Everglades". www.cruiseindustrynews.com. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  22. "Fort Lauderdale Port - Official Port Everglades Site - Fort Lauderdale, Florida". www.porteverglades.net. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  23. "Trade statistics point to Cuba's plight". miamiherald. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  24. "2017 Edition - Best Hotels Near Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port". EatSleepCruise.com. 2017-01-10. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  25. "Ship Ahoy! Residents Near Port Everglades Greet Visitors With A Special Welcome". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 5 June 2016.

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