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Gulftainer set for June start in Port Canaveral

Gulftainer set for June start in Port Canaveral
Gulftainer Canaveral Cargo Terminal (GCCT) is to open in June, as its UAE parent company reaches the final stages of civil works, puts new equipment and IT systems in place and begins recruiting. The US facility will be managed by Gulftainer (GT) USA.

“Gulftainer has made significant progress since signing a 35-year concession deal with Port Canaveral in Florida on June 26 2014, as it prepares for the terminal’s operations to begin in June 2015,” the UAE company’s April newsletter said.

Official maps put the terminal area at GT USA's disposal at 46.7 acres, while the surface of the container yard stacking area will be 20 acres with 20 additional acres available for expansion.

Quay length is 2,000 feet, comprising North Cargo Berths (NCB) 5 and 6. Initial terminal capacity will be 200,000 teu. It will have a turning circle of 1,700 ft (512m) and two post-Panamax cranes.

In April, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) said GT USA would commence operations in June-July starting with 65,000 containers a year and two-three deep-draught ship visits per week. It said potential growth could mean “175,000 containers a year [and] 4-6 deep-draught ships a week.”

The USCG expects a 33% increase in port state control vessel traffic when GCCT starts operations.

In a comparison between the calendar years of 2014 and 2016, the USCG forecasts a 70% increase in annual vessel arrivals at the port from 820 to 1,405, with containerships increasing from three to 100, scrap ships from one to 104, ro-ro ships from two to 100 and cruise vessels increasing 37%.

It said a project to widen Canaveral Harbour Channel by 100 ft (30m) to 500 ft “to reduce surge and allow larger ships to enter” port was completed in April, while dredging to 46 feet (14m) would be completed in December 2015. It said total project cost was $35m.

Gulftainer’s experience with an inland container terminal at Sharjah could also benefit the project as the US government develops plans for an 11-mile rail extension to connect GCCT to an inland port.

“The Environmental Impact Statement has begun and the Surface Transportation Board, under DOT (the Department of Transport), has assumed the lead,” the USCG said. “The study is expected to take 12-18 months and construction could start as early as 2017.”

A “massive increase” in truck traffic on Florida State Road (RT) 401 is also forecast by the USCG as a result of GCCT operations.

Gulftainer said the terminal would have “uncongested access to I-95, SR528 and US 1 with links to I-4 and Florida Turnpike,” as well as a direct link to intermodal railheads at Titusville (Norfolk Southern ) and Cocoa-Rockledge (FEC), without specifying if rail links were currently available.

Gulftainer said the new terminal would create 2,000 direct and indirect jobs when fully operational, a figure which included 500 port staff.

In June 2014, Gulftainer announced GT USA would spend $100m to bring the terminal into operation.

Even the US subsidiary's postal address serves to underline the sensitivity of the location.

In addition to being the world's largest cruise terminal, Port Canaveral is located only 10 km from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and 20 km from the Kennedy Space Centre.