Mayor Touts PortMiami’s Financial Impact

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – From the bustle of importing and exporting of cargo to cruise lines setting sail for the Caribbean and beyond, there’s no doubt that PortMiami is one busy port.

It’s also a very, very profitable one.

On Monday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced results of a new study that the port was the number one money-making operation in the county and in the state for that matter.

“The economic impact to the port increased by $12.8 billion, so now the port of Miami has an economic impact of over $41 billion,” said Gimenez.

Growth in the cargo side of the business has been driven by the increase of nearly 1 million tons of containerized cargo (60,000 actual containers) handled at the Port in 2016.

The port also contributed about $288 million, in direct and indirect state and local taxes, in 2016.

The mayor pointed out that PortMiami has added 116-thousand jobs since 2012, both directly and indirectly, bringing the total number of jobs, directly and indirectly, related to the port to 300-thousand.

“It’s all good news and these are all really good paying jobs. It’s the reason why we invested $1.3 billion dollars into this port, dredging it, creating the tunnel connecting it to the interstate system and tying it to the railroad so that your merchandise can get to 70-percent of the U.S. market in three to four days,” said Gimenez.

Another highlight of the study, the port has seen an increase in cruise ship passengers. Last year they hit a record 5.1 million passengers. On the cargo side, the port handled 8.9 million tons of cargo. That’s up by about 1 million tons of containerized cargo since 2012.

CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald reports that the port’s impressive number may not be all they seem. They did a little digging and found that the firm that conducted the study may have inflated the numbers.

Mayor Gimenez was not buying it.

“We feel that they are pretty accurate. They do these kinds of economic studies around the country. Unless shown otherwise I’m going to believe the numbers,” he said.

Gimenez said looking to the future, he’s excited about an agreement the county made with Royal Caribbean Cruises last to build a new terminal at the port to accommodate their mega ships. The $247 million project is expected to create $500 million in annual economic impact.

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