BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: Port Canaveral CEO Capt. John Murray Delivers 2023 ‘State of the Port’ Address
By Space Coast Daily // November 10, 2023
Record year for cruise and cargo operations and a steady outlook for the future
BREVARD COUNTY • PORT CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – Capt. John Murray, Port Canaveral CEO, presented a comprehensive overview of the Port’s strong performance in Fiscal Year 2023 and expressed a positive outlook for the upcoming FY 2024 during his annual “State of Port” address on Nov. 8 at Cruise Terminal 1.
In highlighting the Port’s economic significance, Capt. John Murray stated, “This Port is an economic powerhouse in the state of Florida. Central Florida benefits immensely from our operations, with numerous jobs created, businesses thriving, and increased tourism. We play a crucial role in supporting Florida’s tourism industry.”
Capt. Murray showcased the Port’s substantial economic impact on the region and for the state in the last year. The Port contributed a total of $6.1 billion to the state’s economy, driving 42,700 jobs with $2.1 billion in wages. Additionally, the Port generated $189.5 million in state and local tax revenues.
Currently the world’s busiest cruise port, Port Canaveral set an all-time high with 6.8 million cruise passengers in FY 2023, homeporting 13 ships, and receiving 906 ship calls. The Port’s operating revenue reached a record-breaking $191 million, including a record-breaking $158 million from cruise operations.
Capt. Murray emphasized the Port’s success, stating, “This is a significant jump from last year when we finished the year at $127 million. It has been quite a year at this Port.”
Cargo business was robust in FY 2023, with the Port handling 3.7 million tons in petroleum, 1.9 million tons in aggregates, nearly a million tons in lumber, and an additional 533,000 tons of general products, totaling just under 7 million tons.
Other developments on the cargo side included completing the renovation of the Port’s North Cargo Berth 3 (NCB3) in June and immediately put into service and the construction underway to rebuild adjacent North Cargo Berth 4 (NCB4), expected to be completed in late 2024. Both berths will add 1,800 feet of space to help meet the growing demands of the cargo industry.
Looking ahead to 2024, Port Canaveral is poised for exciting developments. The Port will homeport 13 cruise ships, hosting 7.3 million passengers and anticipating 913 ship calls.
To accommodate increased cruise traffic, the Port is investing $78 million from its FY 2024 Capital Projects budget in Port-wide parking improvements. On the cargo front, steady volumes in bulk and breakbulk cargos are expected, along with increased space launch recovery operations. The Port plans on investing $182 million in capital improvements for FY 2024, part of the $500 million 5-year Capital Improvement Plan.
Other enhancements will include a new camp store, pavilion renovations, road paving, and RV site upgrades at the Port’s Jetty Park.
Capt. Murray expressed enthusiasm for the future, stating, “We’re very excited for the future. We have some great assets coming online in the next few years and a lot of surprises for the business as a whole.”