Friday, Sept 30, 2016
Brevard Leaders Discuss
What It Takes to Attract Business

(L-R) Bob Kamm, Executive Director, Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization; Percy Luney, Vice President of Education and Talent Supply Chain, Space Florida; Joe Mayer, Director of Government Relations, Lockheed Martin; John Murray, Chief Executive Officer, Port Canaveral; Todd J. Pokrywa, Senior Vice President of Land Use Planning and Development, The Viera Company and Lynda Weatherman, President and CEO, Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.
“Let’s send the message out that Brevard County is open for business,” said Todd J. Pokrywa, Senior Vice President of Land Use Planning and Development for the Viera Company, during the 2016 Doing Business in Brevard panel discussion.
 
This was the second year for the Orlando Business Journal event, which was held at the Hilton Rialto in Melbourne, FL and, like last year’s inaugural event, was sold out in advance.

The focal topic of the panel discussion was how to attract more business into Brevard County. “You have to capitalize on your resources and your workforce,” said Lynda Weatherman, President and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. "That often means diversifying within industries that already have a local presence, such as adding space vehicle construction to Brevard’s existing launch capacities.”

Bob Kamm, Executive Director of the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization, observed, “The larger role of transportation in competitiveness and economic success now is being acknowledged and we have a unique, rich transportation network in Brevard that includes air, land, sea and space.” Several panelists commented on the important role Port Canaveral serves in this network. Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray discussed synergistic collaborations between the Port and its tenants (AutoPort Inc., SpaceX, Seaport Canaveral, the cruise lines) that are increasing business opportunities in the county.
  Reverse Trade Show Opens Doors to Area Businesses
The Canaveral Port Authority again opened its doors to area business people in the 9th Annual Reverse Trade Show, inviting them to make face-to-face connections with the people who make purchasing decisions for one of the region’s strongest economic engines.

The show is an opportunity for local vendors to connect with and introduce their products and services to a broad range of local agencies, including the Port Authority. This year, 18 Port departments and 14 other local governmental, educational, transportation and economic development agencies manned tables in Cruise Terminal 1, to offer printed information, fun take-aways and face-to-face conversation. Both agencies and vendors gave the process positive reviews.

“The show makes it easier for local companies to navigate the process of dealing with government agencies and easier for our Port departments and other agencies to find qualified local suppliers. We will continue hosting this show as long as it benefits our business community. As the Port and the local economy grow, I foresee even more of a need for it,” Director of Purchasing Karen Pappas said.
  Brevard Veterans Memorial to Include Educational Port Exhibit
Port Commissioners recently approved a $25,000 contribution to the Brevard Veterans Council for a Port exhibit at its Veterans Memorial Center (VMC) Museum on nearby Merritt Island.

The museum is being expanded from 1,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet as part of a larger project to update and increase the VMC’s facilities and services. The Port Authority’s contribution will be used to construct a permanent educational exhibit depicting the history of Canaveral and how the military presence at the Port has contributed to national defense.

The grand opening for the expanded Veterans Memorial Center and new Veterans Memorial Park is scheduled for Veterans Day.

  Update on Commercial Transportation Regulations
After a positive public meeting in August and incorporation of the latest stakeholder input, the Port’s new  Commercial Transportation Rules and Regulations have been posted online and installation of the gantries necessary to support the new transponder system is under way.

Full system implementation is scheduled to occur in three phases, starting October 1 when the new rules and regulations go into effect. Online permit registration and beta testing of the new software billing system begins November 1. By January 1, the system is expected to be live at all cruise terminals.

The Port Authority has hired five transportation agents who will patrol all active terminals to ensure enforcement of the new regulations.
 New Department Establishes Dedicated Line Handlers
Until now, Port staff in the maintenance and parking departments stopped work when a cruise or cargo ship came into dock to help attach the ship’s lines. In September, the Port Authority created a new department that specializes in line handling at its cruise and cargo terminals.

While the old system worked when the Port was small, Port CEO John Murray explained that Port growth had made it inefficient. Previously, electricians and plumbers, for example, would have to stop in the midst of a job they were doing in order to tie up a ship. Murray said the change to dedicated line handlers will help the Port Authority make the best use of its people assets.
FY2017 Budget Highlights Financial Solidity
During the 2017 budget presentation in August, Port Commission Secretary/Treasurer Tom Weinberg commented, “We’re not just in good financial shape, we’re in excellent shape.”

The Port expects to see a 10.6 percent increase in total revenues next year, including an increase in cruise revenues of 8.3 percent to $74.24 million. Cruise revenues come from passenger parking, three homeported cruise lines and nine additional cruise lines that will make port calls next year.

According to Port Chief Financial Officer Rodger Rees, cargo revenue will remain relatively small compared with the cruise sector, but it is growing more rapidly, with a projected 30.4 percent gain. It could grow even more if containers and auto imports/exports exceed the conservative projections. Strong cargo gains are expected in petroleum, slag, granite, limestone and salt. “We are very excited about the growth potential in all segments of our business,” Rees added.

The Port Authority cut $458 million worth of capital projects from its five-year capital budget. "We need to be responsible in our growth, do it methodically, and make sure we earn a proper return on our investment," Port CEO John Murray added.

Among the major capital spending items pushed beyond the five-year plan are a cargo rail link and additional channel deepening. Approximately $545 million worth of capital projects remain in the plan, including a new $110 million cruise terminal which, depending on business demand, may be targeted for 2020.
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