Port Everglades is located in the heart of greater Fort Lauderdale and the City of Hollywood, Florida. It’s a manmade harbor that was first Federally authorized in 1930. The Broward County Port Authority, established in 1927 by the Florida State Legislature, requested that the United States construct the outer breakwaters and assume the maintenance of the breakwaters, jetties, channels, and basins outside the pier-head lines. Since this early history, Port Everglades has become a significant economic force in Florida and the Nation. It’s South Florida’s main seaport for receiving petroleum products; a leading container port that ranks 12th in the nation in terms of total tonnage; and, is one of the top three cruise ports worldwide (2013 data). In addition, Port Everglades serves the nation as a military port, home to both the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy.
Port Everglades is an important key node for European and South American trade routes. The port is strategically located with access to a multi-modal transportation network including the Atlantic Ocean shipping lanes, the Florida East Coast railway, Florida's highway system, and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
The configuration of the current Federal project dates back to the 1980s, making it difficult to accommodate today’s larger container and tanker vessels. Navigation is further challenged by strong and unpredictable cross currents in or near the outer entrance channel. These currents can exceed 5 knots at times, and change by the hour. Vessels have been held at sea for hours to days until currents subside.
Navigation in the port is challenged by insufficient channel depths and widths. With navigation improvements there is an opportunity to reduce transportation costs and bring forecasted volume of goods into the harbor on fewer, larger and more efficient ships.
The Port Everglades Harbor Feasibility Study was initiated in 1997 with the non-Federal sponsor, Broward County. The primary purpose of conducting the study was to investigate improvements to the Federal navigation project. The overall goal was to decrease costs associated with vessel delays from congestion, channel restrictions and berth deficiencies.
The existing Federal Channel project depth of 42-feet does not provide adequate, safe depth for large tankers and container ships currently visiting the harbor. The next generation of container ships and oil tankers requires significantly more channel depth to operate efficiently.
The study accommodates existing and future vessel movements, resolves navigation restriction problems, and presents opportunities for national economic development. Since release of the draft feasibility study in June 2013, the Corps has continued consultation with state and federal agencies regarding the new endangered species coral listings, and refining mitigation and monitoring plans.