John Walsh Is Space Coast Daily 2014 Person of the Year

By  //  January 5, 2015

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ABOVE VIDEO: Port Canaveral CEO John Walsh has been selected as Space Coast Daily 2014 Person of the Year in recognition of his masterful leadership, exceptional vision and dedication to developing the Port into one of the region’s major economic drivers.

‘On Behalf of All 217 People At Port Canaveral, It’s Really An Honor To Accept This Award’

BREVARD COUNTY • PORT CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – Port Canaveral CEO John Walsh has been selected as Space Coast Daily’s 2014 Person of the Year in recognition of his masterful leadership, exceptional vision and dedication to developing the Port into one of the region’s major economic drivers.

John Walsh

John Walsh

“I’m honored and humbled,” said Walsh. “There is the work of a lot of people here at the port that makes us successful and often I’m the face out front…so on behalf of all 217 people at Port Canaveral it’s really an honor to accept this award.”

In March 2013, the Canaveral Port Authority commissioners voted 4-1 to remove Stan Payne as the port’s CEO and named Walsh as Interim CEO. He was then confirmed in June 2013 unanimously by the Port Canaveral Commission as the permanent chief executive officer. 

With Walsh at the helm, Port Canaveral is on a trajectory to become the number one cruise port in the world, and pump billions of dollars into the local economy.

In June, Walsh delivered an exciting 2014 “State of the Port” address declaring that thousands more local jobs, and billions more in economic impact, was in store for Brevard County.

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Walsh said Port Canaveral’s 30 Year Master Plan will grow the port’s economic impact from $3.5 billion annually, to a whopping $20 billion a year.

He also declared that Port Canaveral, currently the second busiest cruise passenger port in the world behind Miami, will grow from four million passengers a year to eight million, thanks in part to the new Cruise Terminal 1 that is was then being built on the south shore of the port next to the Cove.

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The ground-breaking video “We are Port Canaveral: Reaching Above and Beyond” also debuted during 2014 State of the Port event.

In June, with state and local leaders watching, Walsh officially announced a 35-year agreement with Gulftainer USA to operate a multi-purpose cargo terminal that is expected to create 500 on-site jobs.

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Under the terms of the agreement with the port, Gulftainer will invest $100 million in infrastructure, equipment and locally-sourced labor.

The new container and cargo terminal is expected to contribute more than $630 million to the local economy, $280 million in revenue to Port Canaveral and generate more than $350 million in tax contributions.

Gulftainer expects to hire 100 percent of its full time employees from Brevard County.

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Construction began in January on the new Cruise Terminal 1, the first to be located on the south side of Canaveral harbor and that will allow passengers and crew to walk to nearby dining and entertainment options for the first time. A new boat ramp facility is constructed just west of Jetty Park near the entrance of the Port’s harbor.

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Port Canaveral’s first ship-to-shore cranes arrived via barge from their 325-mile journey from the Port of Savannah in March as Port Canaveral also undertakes a $65 million capital program for rail connectivity to Florida East Coast Railway. The on-dock rail program will generate 5,000 jobs within five-to-seven years and 10,000-15,000 within 10-to-15 years.

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In March, Canaveral Port Authority Commissioners approved a new 10-year marine terminal operating and lease agreement with Morton Salt that paves the way to expansion of the company’s operations at Port Canaveral.

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In March, the long-awaited widening and deepening of Canaveral Harbor to allow larger ships greater safety margins for sailing in and out of Port Canaveral is scheduled to begin next month with completion in November 2014.

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In April, the Canaveral Harbor Inlet Sand Bypass Project earned the top state ranking for 2014/15 inlet management funding. As a result, Port Canaveral is expected to receive $100,500 in grant funding from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for beach re-nourishment.

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In April, the totally transformed Carnival Sunshine, departed on its inaugural voyage from the Space Coast when it sailed on a special two-day cruise to the Bahamas.

In May, further bolstering its position as Central Florida’s largest cruise operator, Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Liberty departed on its inaugural voyage from Port Canaveral, becoming the line’s third year-round ship sailing from the Space Coast.

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It’s announced in August that there’ll be Fun, Fun, Fun on Saturday, January 10, 2015 as the world famous Beach Boys, along with John Stamos, will perform all their hits and more in concert at Port Canaveral’s beautiful landmark Exploration Center.

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In August, the Canaveral Port Authority received a $1.6 million Port Security Grant Funding award for a new port-wide cyber-security program, software that integrates existing security systems and resources into a single uniformed platform and CCTV expansion into new cargo facilities.

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With $225,000 of the funding, the Port Authority will initiate a phased comprehensive plan to assess, develop and implement a Port-wide cyber security program. Phase one will include identifying needed resources, including personnel, equipment and software.

In August, the bigger, better Port Canaveral Boat Launch Complex opened to rave reviews.

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In August, with unanimous approval, Port Canaveral Commissioners permitted staff to negotiate a developer agreement with Sooner Investment on an $80 million project to build restaurants, a hotel and a venue center for tourists and locals, alike.

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Walsh projected Spring 2015 as the hopeful groundbreaking and late 2016 as the target timeline for completion of the first phase of the development.

Port Canaveral Scrap Terminal LLC (PCST), a bulk ferrous scrap exporter, signed a lease with the Canaveral Port Authority to operate a  terminal in the north cargo area at Port Canaveral.

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The one-year agreement calls for PCST to lease four acres with a 100,000 ton minimal annual guarantee. Vessel calls are anticipated at eight per year with an average of 35,000 tons per call.  Local stevedore Ambassador Services Inc. (ASI) will handle the loading operations.

In October, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Department became responsible for law enforcement and seaport security services at Port Canaveral as part of a $4.9 million annual contract.

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“We are confident that our community and partners will experience a seamless transition and can be assured that public safety remains a top priority as we continue to expand our operations,” said Walsh.

Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Canaveral Port Authority’s $30.2 million in outstanding revenue bonds to A2 from A3 and rated its financial outlook stable.

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The upgrade was attributed to low leverage, cruise growth, stable finances and pro-active capital plan management.

Port Canaveral’s five-year capital plan totals nearly $600 million, which will be financed with a combination of grants, matching funds, cash flow and unrestricted cash balances.

In October, the Canaveral Port Authority announced its intention to apply to the Surface Transportation Board for powers to build and operate a rail link between its port on Atlantic and the Florida East Coast Railway near Titusville, Florida.

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This would eliminate the need for road haulage between the port and a suitable railhead.

In documents published on October 27, the Canaveral Port Authority said the Port Canaveral Rail Extension would require the construction of about 11 miles of new single-track railway including a bridge across the Banana River, and would also make use of 17 miles of the existing rail network within Kennedy Space Center, which has been out of use since the end of the Space Shuttle program.

In November, Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas began homeporting at Port Canaveral through March 2015, offering a new 9-night itinerary that reaches further into the southern Caribbean with stops in Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and Haiti.

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Port Canaveral also is homeport for Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas.

In December, passengers began enjoying the benefits of the Port’s newest cruise facilities when Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas became the first ship to sail from Cruise Terminal 1 (CT1).

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Already popular for its relaxed cruise experience, Port Canaveral continually seeks ways to make the experience even better and new CT1 is a standout in the modern cruise business.

In December, building on a legacy of innovation and creative design, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, the world’s third largest passenger ship docked at Port Canaveral.

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Quantum of the Seas offers features not seen before, such as simulated skydiving, a glass observation pod at the end of a giant swiveling mechanical arm, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea, and larger more advanced staterooms.


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