Florida’s seaports are making investments in more efficient fuels for the ships, trains and trucks that move products and people through the state every day.
According to a new report from the Florida Natural Gas Association, the state’s 15 ports are quickly transitioning from traditional fossil fuels to liquefied natural gas, or LNG, which is more environmentally friendly and less costly.
In shipping and rail industries, LNG has been found to be the most efficient and cost-effective option, while the fuel serves as a serviceable backup in fleet and cargo handling operations.
“The rapid expansion of the natural gas industry and the alternative fuel market provides an exciting opportunity for Florida seaports to expand their use of natural gas, creating economic and environmental benefits for the state,” Florida Ports Council President and CEO Doug Wheeler said.
“Our ports are in a unique position to capitalize on their economic strength and are on the leading edge nationally of LNG for cargo and cruise vessels. We must ensure that Florida has the infrastructure and business climate to promote the economic and environmental benefits from these alternative fuels.”
Florida seaports have continued the development and deployment of alternative fuels for cargo and cruise vessels. For example, Jacksonville has the largest LNG bunkering operation at a U.S. port, which includes JAX LNG and Eagle LNG.
Other ports around the state — including PortMiami, Port Tampa Bay and Port Canaveral — are also positioned to receive LNG delivered by truck or rail, which can then be loaded onto container ships or oceangoing carriers for export.
According to the Cruise Ship Order Book, 26 new LNG powered cruise ships are to be built and delivered between 2020-2026. As cruise vessels shift toward alternative power sources, Florida’s cruise ports such as PortMiami, Port Everglades, and the Port of Palm Beach will invest in infrastructure to accommodate this new type of vessel.
Port Canaveral has already begun these investments and will soon take delivery of an LNG bunkering barge to provide fuel to the first fully LNG-powered cruise ship in North America, Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras.
The progress has also grabbed the attention of Dr. Julia Nesheiwat, Florida’s Chief Resiliency Officer.
“Florida ports are leading the way in moving to cleaner, alternative energy sources, bringing tremendous environmental benefits to our transportation systems and our communities,” she said.
Florida’s ports serve as one of the state’s primary economic engines, supporting more than 900,000 jobs across the state and producing an economic impact of more than $117 billion. Likewise, the domestic natural gas industry is booming in Florida and nationwide.
“The natural gas industry is a proud partner of Florida’s port system. Our ports are implementing the use of alternative fuels, including natural gas, which benefits both our environment and our local economies,” Florida Natural Gas Association Executive Director Dale Calhoun said.