Gains at Port of Miami moderate over past year
By Paola Iuspa
Moderate gains in passenger traffic, cargo and revenues were recorded during the past fiscal year at the Port of Miami, according to end-of-the-year reports released this week.
Statistics for the 12 months ending Sept. 30 indicate passenger traffic rose 0.8% compared to the previous fiscal year, with about 3.4 million people boarding cruise ships in Miami.
The volume of cargo moving through Miami in the period was 8.2 million tons, up from 7.8 million in fiscal 1999-2000. Exports totaled 3.8 million tons and imports reached 4.4 million tons in the period, the report shows.
The port - which creates 45,000 direct and indirect jobs and has an economic impact of $8 billion on the local economy, according to port officials - saw revenues rise in fiscal '00-01. Operating revenues reached $76.2 million, up 5.1% from $72.5 million.
The number of containers passing through the port jumped 10% to 955,671. Charles Towsley, port director, said his goal is to take that figure to 1 million in the next year.
Regional shares of the port's customer base varied little from the previous year.
Nations in Latin America and the Caribbean account for about 61.5% of the port's total cargo volume. European countries account for 22%, nations in the Far East and Asia about 11.7% and the Middle East, southwest Asia and African countries 0.76%, the report shows.
The port served more than 40 shipping lines, calling on 362 ports in 132 countries during the past 12 months. Of those, 26 carriers served 33 nations. About 100 of the ports served are in Latin America or the Caribbean.
Exports to the Caribbean rose 913,766 tons, up 24% from the previous fiscal year, while imports reached 359,209 tons, up about 8.1%.
Exports to Central American and Mexico totaled 881,567 tons, up 23%, while imports were 799,361 tons, up 18%.
Exports to Europe were 381,466 tons, up 10%, while imports jumped to 1.4 million tons, up 32.36%. About 1.2 million tons, up 31%, were exported to South America while 929,623 tons were imported from that region.
The top five importers through the Port of Miami in the fiscal year were Honduras, Italy, Spain, Guatemala and Brazil, the report shows.
The top five export nations were Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
In combined exports and imports, products from Honduras accounted for the most traffic with 752,891 tons.
Also including exports and imports, Venezuela captured second place behind Honduras in moving cargo through the port, with 614,315 tons, up 7.4%. In the previous fiscal year, Venezuela was ranked No. 4.
Brazil moved to the No. 4 spot, up two places, with 612,245 tons, while Hong Kong ranked No. 5, up from No. 10 in the previous fiscal year, moving 418,241 tons through Miami's seaport.
Cargo from Spain dropped to the No. 7 slot, with 397,070 tons, from the No. 3 spot a year ago. Spain's drop in Miami-bound cargo could be due to a decline in demand for construction materials Mr. Towsley said.
"Spain," he said, "was a big importer of tiles and stones."