The Port of Miami (Port), located on the southeast coast of Florida, is in the top 10 cargo container ports in the United States and is the largest container port in Florida. The Port carries the dual distinction of "Cruise Capital of the World" and "Cargo Gateway of the Americas."
In 2005, approximately 3.5 million passengers and more than one million tons of cargo transited through the Port of Miami from around the world The Port is also located in the center of a unique and diverse ecosystem. Biscayne Bay surrounds the Port and portions of the Bay have been designated as a National Park, a Florida Aquatic Preserve, an Outstanding Florida Water, and a state Critical Wildlife Area.
In 1990, in response to the need for continued growth of the Port to meet the demands of the passenger and commercial shipping industries, Congress authorized the deepening and expansion of the Port to 42 feet. Phase I, in which the Port deepened the entrance channel and Fisher Island turning basin, was completed in 1993. Phase II, a $40 million project to address the South Harbor, was initiated in the mid 1990s and was unable to be completed due to the hardness of the rock. In 2000, the Port approached the Jacksonville District to complete the construction. Construction began in June 2005 and was completed in July 2006.
Phase III is scheduled to begin in 2012. The plan includes components that would widen and deepen the Entrance Channel, deepen Government Cut, deepen and widen Fisher Island Turning Basin, relocate the west end of the Main Channel (no dredging involved), and deepen and widen Fisherman's Channel and the Lummus Island Turning Basin.