Gulftainer’s new Canaveral Cargo Terminal at Port Canaveral in Florida, USA, officially opened for business with a major launch ceremony attended by more than 300 local, state, and national public officials, alongside leaders of business and trade across the Florida region.
The new cargo terminal opening comes one year after Canaveral Port Authority signed a 35-year agreement with GT USA, the US arm of UAE-based global ports and logistics company Gulftainer, to operate and further develop the container and multipurpose cargo terminal. GT USA, which has established its headquarters at the Canaveral Port Authority offices, expects to contribute more than US$630 million to the local economy, creating 2,000 direct and indirect jobs when fully developed.
The ceremony was attended by HE Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States of America; HE Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations; Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally, Executive Director of the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce; and Richard Biter, Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation.
Canaveral Port Authority Commission Chairman Jerry Allender, opened the ceremony by saying, “the United Arab Emirates and the United States have fostered great partnerships in trade, culture, and education. Today represents one example of our nations’ great partnership.”
In his opening remarks, HE Yousef Al Otaiba highlighted the growing trade between the UAE and the US, commenting: “Bilateral trade between the UAE and US has grown almost 80 percent since 2005. In fact, last year the US benefitted from a US$19 billion trade surplus with the UAE, and was the largest market for US goods and services in the region.”
Al Otaiba added: “Now we’re here to celebrate another milestone in the UAE’s expanding trade and commercial relationship with Florida. And I am proud to count the Gulftainer and Port Canaveral venture among the finest examples of the UAE-US relationship.”
GT USA is part of Gulftainer’s strategic vision to triple its global cargo capacity in the next ten years across five continents. The Company is a subsidiary of UAE-headquartered multinational Crescent Enterprises, which is also active in a number of other industry sectors.
Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and Chairman of Gulftainer’s Executive Board, added: “Container shipping is a US$6 trillion industry that touches 95 percent of the world’s manufactured goods, and we are determined to bring much more of that business to Port Canaveral in the months and years to come. What our experience has shown us, time and time again, is that a well-run port can be a huge catalyst for economic growth and development, and we look forward to working with the Canaveral Port Authority and the local community to ensure that this facility becomes an indispensable part of global supply chains.”
The unveiling of new terminal and first container movements included the maiden call of the ‘CMA CGM Jamaica’, a 264-metre container vessel with a capacity of 4,298 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) that berthed at the port, as the deepest vessel to ever call at Canaveral in its 60 year history, before resuming her voyage across the Atlantic and to Europe. A long-time business partner of Gulftainer, CMA CGM is one of the world’s leading shipping companies and is associated with Gulftainer at several locations around the world. Earlier this month, Gulftainer welcomed CMA CGM’s largest container vessel at its Khorfakkan Container Terminal in Sharjah, the ‘CMA CGM Kerguelen,’ with a total capacity of 17,722 TEUs.
Peter Richards, GT USA Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Gulftainer Group, said: “This new state-of-the-art facility is ready to get to work with two berths, two cranes and 20 acres of land already developed. In Gulftainer’s partnership with the Canaveral Port Authority, it is our policy to partner with the entire community and we hope to make this a world-class container terminal servicing the Florida region, the nation and beyond.”
The Canaveral Cargo Terminal, which begins operations with a TEU cargo capacity of 200,000 TEUs, has ambitious plans to triple capacity to 750,000 TEUs. An ideal gateway for container shipping to the central Florida market and beyond, the new terminal provides an excellent connection to central Florida’s bustling consumption centres and growing number of distribution centres. The terminal is able to turn around cargo imported into Port Canaveral to the Orlando area within one hours, the fastest transit time when compared to other container terminals in the State.