Port Everglades is a seaport in Broward County, Florida. As one of South Florida's leading economic powerhouses, Port Everglades is the gateway for international trade and cruise vacations. Already the second busiest cruise ports worldwide, Port Everglades is also one of Florida's leading container ports, with more than 4,000 ship calls annually. Port Everglades is South Florida's main seaport for receiving petroleum products including gasoline, jet fuel, and alternative fuels. The port serves as the primary storage and distribution seaport for refined petroleum products, distributing fuel to residents of 12 Florida counties. Port Everglades is also recognized as a favorite United States Navy liberty port. With a depth of 43 feet (at mean low water), Port Everglades is currently the deepest United States (Atlantic Ocean) port south of Norfolk, VA.
The Port Everglades Department is a self-supporting Enterprise Fund of Broward County government with operating revenues of approximately $139 million in Fiscal Year 2011 (October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011). It does not rely on local tax dollars for operations. The total value of economic activity at Port Everglades is nearly $15.3 billion annually. Approximately 160,000 Florida jobs are impacted by the Port, including 11,400 people who work for companies that provide direct services to Port Everglades.
- In 1911, the Florida Board of Trade passed a resolution calling for a deepwater port to ship farmers' produce to the north and west.
- In 1913, the Fort Lauderdale Harbor Company was formed and eventually dug out the Lake Mabel Cut, opening the New River to the sea for small boats.
- In 1924, Joseph Wesley Young, founder and mayor of the city of Hollywood, bought 1,440 acres of land adjacent to the lake and created Hollywood Harbor Development Company.
- In 1926, Young helped get a $2 million harbor improvement bond measure overwhelmingly passed by voters in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale.
- In 1927, the Florida State Legislature establishes the Broward County Port Authority.
- On February 22, 1928, 85 percent of Broward County's residents gathered for a ceremony in which President Calvin Coolidge was to push a button from the White House detonating explosives to remove the rock barrier separating the harbor from the ocean. Nothing happened, but the barrier was removed shortly thereafter.
- In 1928, Port Everglades was named through a contest conducted by several area women's groups.
- In 1929, Fort Lauderdale dedicated its first airport. That same year, the Port project was completed and the Port obtained certificates for construction of a railway connecting the Port to the Florida East Coast Railway.
- In 1929, the ss Vogtland became the first cargo ship and first foreign-flagged vessel to enter Port Everglades.
- In 1931, Port Everglades welcomed United Fruit Co., as the port's first official cruise line.
- In 1931, Aeroland Oil Co. is the first petroleum company to enter into an agreement for land and pipeline easements. Belcher (Coastal Fuels), Standard Oil (Chevron) and American Oil (Amoco) follow suit.
- 1941-1943, Port Everglades is used as a military base for the U.S. Navy.
- In 1994, Port Everglades becomes an enterprise fund governed by Broward County.
- The 1940s saw a burgeoning military presence and the '50s brought cruise liners from around the World to the Port. Around that time, the Fort Lauderdale Rotary Club began greeting ships with Florida orange juice. The tradition continued for 20 years.
- 1960s: The Broward County Port Authority was renamed the Port Everglades Authority and the site of the future Southport cargo terminal was purchased.
- 1970s: The Port became the center of Florida's first Foreign trade zone.
- 1980s: The Port purchased its first rail-mounted container gantry crane.
- 1990s: The Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center opened at Northport, two parking garages were completed and on November 22, 1994, Port Everglades' governance was transferred from the Port Authority to the Broward County government.
- 2000s: Port Everglades continuously breaks its own world record for handling the most cruise passengers.
- In 2001, Port Everglades dedicated a new Operations Center and Harbormaster Tower constructed atop the Midport Parking Garage. Port Everglades also celebrated its 70th cruise season hosting the world's largest collection of five star ships.
- In 2003, on February 28, port users and customers celebrated the 75th Anniversary of Port Everglades.
- In 2004, Port Everglades greeted the Queen. Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2, the world's largest ocean liner, as she made her first visit to mainland U.S. from the UK, by arriving at Port Everglades, her U.S. winter home port. QM2 is the longest, widest, tallest and most expensive ocean liner ever built.
- In 2009, Port Everglades opened the World's Largest Cruise Terminal and home of Royal Caribbean's 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world.
- In March 2011, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners approved an update of the Port's 20-Year Master/Vision Plan that includes key cargo expansion projects over the next six years that will add five berths, widen and deepen the channel to 50 feet and bring freight rail into the port.
The container handling capacity of the port has been increased with a new 41-acre (170,000 m2) terminal, completed in 2010. The expansion increased Port Everglades' freight handling area by 15%. Port Everglades is the world's second busiest cruise port, with more than 3.6 million annual revenue cruise passengers. Ships sail year round, but the peak season is from November to April. Port Everglades was once home to RMS Queen Elizabeth when she was laid up as a museum ship from 1968 until 1970. Besides the RMS Queen Elizabeth, Port Everglades has been used to dock many notable and famous ships. In 2004, the Queen Mary 2 completed her maiden voyage and her maiden transatlantic voyage at Port Everglades. In December 2009, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines began using Port Everglades as the home port for the world's largest passenger ship, the Oasis of the Seas; in late 2010, she was joined at Port Everglades by her sister ship Allure of the Seas.
A regular tradition of the condominium residents who live next to the channel of Port Everglades in Everglades House, Sky Harbor East and Point Of Americas I and II is to bid bon-voyage to cruise ships as they embark on their voyages from Port Everglades. To wish the passengers a happy voyage the residents blow horns and ring bells, with the ships usually responding by blowing their horns back. Some residents fly flags of the ships to pay patronage to having sailed on the ship. This tradition is said to only happen at Port Everglades.