A new tenant that specializes in the export of steel scrap could significantly increase Port Canaveral’s small breakbulk volumes.
The Central Florida port authority has signed a one-year lease for a four-to-five-acre facility with Port Canaveral Scrap Terminal LLC to ship scrap metal to mills in Turkey, with a minimum guarantee of 100,000 tons of volume, according to the agenda for the Board of Commissioners’ monthly meeting on Aug. 28 and Chief Executive Officer John Walsh.
The company plans to export about 200,000 tons of scrap steel per year, said the Port Canaveral Scrap Terminal's director of operations, who declined to give his name when contacted by phone.
In fiscal year 2013, Canaveral moved 17,142 short tons of breakbulk cargo. That compares to 2.5 million tons at the Georgia ports of Savannah and Brunswick or 942,000 tons at the Port of Jacksonville.
Port Canaveral Scrap Terminal is a new entity established by a large steel commodity trader in the United Kingdom and a Turkish partner for the purpose of shipping steel, the operations director said. According to publicly available records from Florida Department of State Division of Corporations, the principles behind the company are Steel Trading LLC of Orlando and a man named Chad Ward at the same address.
The operations director and Canaveral’s CEO said the new company also plans to import steel coils and wire rods as Florida’s highway and building construction industries begin to grow again after a lengthy post-recession downturn.
The deal reflects Port Canaveral’s renewed emphasis on growing its cargo portfolio since Walsh took over as port director in 2013. The port authority generates 80 percent of its revenue from the cruise industry. Walsh said the deal will bring in $1 million, which would represent a 20-percent increase in cargo revenue.
The lease requires the port to make $50,000 in terminal improvements, and it should open for monthly vessel calls in a couple months, according to the agenda and the operations director.
Port Canaveral Scrap Terminal will charter vessels to move its steel instead of using third parties. The official said the temporary lease will give the company time to decide whether to enter a longer-term arrangement.
“There is a gap in the ferrous scrap market in Central Florida. This will bring Florida hundreds of millions of dollars in exports,” the operations director said.
Walsh said Port Canaveral is a more economical location for international shipping of metal to and from Central Florida than ports in South Carolina, Georgia or elsewhere on the East Coast that involve significant trucking costs.