The Dante B. Fascell Port of Miami is a seaport located in Biscayne Bay in Miami, Florida, United States. It is connected to Downtown Miami by Port Boulevard, a bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway. The port is located on Dodge Island, which is the combination of three historic islands (Dodge, Lummus and Sam's Islands) that have since been combined into one. It is named in honor of 19 term Florida Congressman Dante Fascell. As of 2011, the Port of Miami accounts for 176,000 jobs and has an annual economic impact in Miami of $18 billion. It is the 11th largest cargo container port in the United States. In 2010, a record 4.33 million passengers traveled through the Port of Miami. One in seven of all the World’s cruise passengers start from Miami.
The Port of Miami is recognized, and has been for many years, as the "Cruise Capital of the World" and "Cargo Gateway of the Americas". It has retained its status as the number one cruise/passenger port in the world for well over two decades accommodating the largest cruise ships in the world and the operations of such major cruise lines as Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, until the late 2000s, when Port Everglades was chosen as home to the largest cruise ships in the world, Oasis of the Seas and its sister ship, Allure of the Seas.
As the "Cargo Gateway of the Americas", the port primarily handles containerized cargo with small amounts of breakbulk, vehicles and industrial equipment. It is the largest container port in the state of Florida and ninth in the United States. As a world-class port, the Port of Miami is among an elite group of ports in the world which cater to both cruise ships and containerized cargo.
The Port of Miami is an important contributor to the local south Florida and state economies. Over four million cruise passengers pass through the Port, 7.4 million tons of cargo and over 1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) (FY 2004/2005) of intermodal container traffic move through the seaport per year. This combination of cruise and cargo activities supports approximately 176,000 jobs, and has an economic impact in Miami-Dade County of over $17 billion, $14 billion of which is generated by its cargo operations.
The port currently operates eight passenger terminals, six gantry cranes wharves, seven Ro-Ro (Roll-on-Roll-off) docks, four refrigerated yards for containers, break bulk cargo warehouses and nine gantry container handling cranes. In addition, the port tenants operate the cruise and cargo terminals which includes their cargo handling and support equipment.
To retain the port's competitive rank as a world-class port, in 1997 the port undertook a redevelopment program of over $250 million which is well underway to accommodate the changing demands of cruise vessel operators, passengers, shippers and carriers. In addition, to resolve the user's accessibility, the Port is at the forefront with the transportation community and the State of Florida to construct a new tunnel between Watson Island and the Port. The tunnel will provide direct vehicle access to the interstate highway system for the Port users bypassing the traffic of downtown Miami. See Port of Miami Tunnel
As part of the massive Port of Miami redevelopment program, new ultramodern cruise terminals, roadways and parking garages have been constructed. Additionally, a new gantry crane dock and container storage yards have been constructed along with the electrification of the gantry crane docks to include the conversion of several cranes has been completed. In addition, the Port acquired two state-of-the-art super post-panamax gantry cranes which are amongst the largest in the world; able to load and unload 22 container (8 foot wide each), or nearly 200 foot, wide mega container ships. This, along with the planned Deep Dredge Project, would make it possible for the Port of Miami to facilitate even the future largest containerships in the world, the Maersk Triple E Class. The new and restructured roadway system with new lighting, landscaping and signage greets visitors to the 'Cruise Capital of the World and Cargo Gateway of the Americas'. The roadways will change again with the completion of the Port of Miami Tunnel. And to enhance cargo port accessibility, the newly constructed Security Gates opened at the end of 2006 to increase the processing rate for container trucks and help eliminate the daily traffic backups.