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Port Miami builds team for billions in new projects

Posted on March 20, 2023

A total of $17.6 million was divided equally among four contractors by county commissioners last week, a step forward in Miami-Dade County’s masterplan for Port Miami.

“The current magnitude of the Seaport’s Capital Improvements Program (its 2035 master plan) and its complexity,” Mayor Daniella Levine Cava explained in a report to the commission, “requires teams of qualified architects, engineers, construction managers, inspectors, and other professionals with a wide range of expertise and experience to augment professional staff at the Seaport Department.

Four $44 million resolutions passed unanimously, with $400,000 in each case earmarked as a “contingency allowance.”
The contractors are:

■AECOM Technical Services Inc. for architectural Port of Miami representation services.

The company is a subsidiary of AECOM, a Dallas-based global provider with more than 45,000 employees worldwide offering professional, technical, and management support services to markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government.

■Nova Consulting Inc. for engineering port representation services. Established in 1995, Nova is a Woman Owned Small Business minority engineering consulting firm, specializing in civil and environmental engineering as well as construction management services.

■Tetra Tech Inc. for engineering port representation services. The Pasadena, CA, based company is a provider of high-end consulting and engineering services. The firm has 21,000 employees and 450 offices worldwide.

■Gurrimatute P.A. for architectural port representation services. The Miami-based, woman-owned company is an award-winning architectural and interior design firm providing Title I and Title II professional A/E design and construction inspection services to aviation, civic/federal, education, and healthcare clients.

Nova Consulting and Tetra Tech are engineering consultants, while Gurrimatute and AECOM are architectural consultants.

Presently, PortMiami has about $1.2 billion in construction projects and expansions coming within five years and looks ahead in its 2035 long-range planning report at $2.8 billion more capital spending.

Current ongoing projects include the building of a three-berth mega-cruise terminal, a separate new cruise terminal with parking facilities, replacement of cruise berths, cargo terminal and berth improvement projects, shore power, 40-year recertification efforts, ancillary improvements for new cargo gantry cranes, expansion of cargo facilities handling Florida East Coast Railway trains where use is predicted to rise 3% this year, roadway improvements and more, according to reports from the mayor’s office.

“In addition, the Seaport Department is currently developing its 2050 Master Plan, and a $2.8 billion Capital Improvement Program, including various new infrastructure improvements and projects with grant funding,” the mayor’s memos say.

Fitch Ratings, which rates the port’s current debt for projects now underway or completed, in January assigned A ratings to multiple PortMiami bond issues, Miami Today reported last month.
“The rating reflects PortMiami’s fundamental operating strengths, including its global leading cruise port market position and its role as one of the largest ports in the state of Florida in terms of cargo volume,” Fitch reported. “Despite increasing risks of a near-term economic recession, the port’s demand profile should remain intact.”

The port’s current capital improvement program totals about $1.9 billion through fiscal 2033, Fitch said, “and includes a new campus and redeveloped cruise terminal for Royal Caribbean Group, which is subject to the new agreements with [Royal Caribbean that the county commission approved in November] taking effect.”

Cargo volume has rebounded and “cruise activity has increased significantly in 2022, with many cruise lines operating at over 100% occupancy in recent months after relaxing testing and vaccine requirements,” Fitch said. “In fiscal 2022, approximately 4 million passengers have sailed out of PortMiami, compared to 6.8 million passengers in fiscal 2019.

The cruise line industry began at the Port of Miami in the 1940s with service to Havana, Nassau and the Lesser Antilles, Miami Today reported earlier.

The county purchased the Port of Miami in the 1950s. It began looking for a replacement location for the seaport to expand. Eventually, county officials announced that the new seaport would be constructed on Dodge Island and its spoil banks.

PortMiami’s 2035 master plan calls for staying within the port’s current footprint, but making better use of the space.

PortMiami contributes more than $43 billion annually to Miami-Dade County’s local economy and supports over 334,500 jobs in Florida.


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