South Florida based importers often ask us for the pros and cons of importing their freight at PortMiami or Port Everglades. The close proximity of the ports to each other (28 miles, to be exact) affords South Florida shippers additional flexibility for their imported goods into the state.
As a shipper, what port should you import your goods to? It all depends on if price or transit time is most important for your operation.
The seaport is currently undergoing significant infrastructure improvements to allow post-Panamax vessels to offload at the port. To accommodate the vessels that will travel through the 2015 widened Panama Canal, PortMiami is undergoing the Deep Dredge project brings the depth of the port from 42’ to 50-52’. New gantry cranes are currently en route to the port to be able to offload these behemoth vessels that will bring with them additional capacity. The port is also in the process of completing new tunnel solely for drayage operators to get in and out of the port quickly.
This port usually attracts faster and larger vessels, making the average transit time less than dealing with its northern Port Everglades neighbor. The port also is adequately staffed with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel and new technology allowing the release of cargo in real-time, so goods flow faster comparatively through their checkpoints. While Customs holds are still a reality, the movement of goods through CBP is not as near of a bottleneck. According to the port, they have introduced The ELMO project (Enforcement Link to Mobile Operations) in January 2012. The program, has helped “PortMiami record some of the fastest inspection turnaround times in the nation. Containers processed by field officers using the new handheld device are now released in real-time and ready to move off-port in just minutes.”
This seaport is located north of Miami in Fort Lauderdale and boasts “fast in, fast out” as their motto. While there is significant less backlog of drivers waiting to pick up their respective containers, there is still an issue outside of their control. CBP has recently cut down on personnel at the port which has created a bottleneck for processing inspections and holds.
Since operating costs for offloading at this port are less at this location, vessels with a slower transit time often are offloaded at Port Everglades. What does that mean for shippers? If a supply chain is planned to allow for additional transit time (xx days as compared with 28 days), the shipper can take advantage of cheap ocean shipping costs.
The Bottom Line
Our bottom line, if your order is ready at origin with additional time to spare, chose Port Everglades. You will pay less for transit costs because of the slower vessel and decreased costs at the port, but you will still have to allow for the increased Customs holds. If you need your freight as soon as possible (28 days), ship to PortMiami. With shorter vessel transit times as compared with Port Everglades and more Customs personnel, your goods will most likely be released much sooner than with Port Miami.
To have a supply chain professional consult you on your most advantageous option, call the experts at LILLY + Associates International at 888-464-5459.