The Port of Palm Beach experienced record revenues of $16.6 million for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, as cargo shipments and cruise ship passenger counts rose, the port’s executive director Manuel Almira said Thursday.
The 162-acre port with more than 30 tenants and users on-site in Riviera Beach made more than $2 million in profit, Almira told the port commission at its monthly meeting. The record year follows revenues of $16.1 million in 2015 and $15.8 million in 2014.
“This is the first time we have seen these kinds of levels, record-breaking revenue and profit,” Almira said. “Our strategy continues to pay off, tight on expenses. Anything that floats we go after it, and see if it makes any sense to bring it to the Port of Palm Beach.”
A big success has been the multi-day cruises offered on the Grand Celebration. More than 482,000 passengers went through the port in fiscal year 2016. That’s equivalent to Oasis-type vessels that cruise out of Port Everglades, Almira said.
“That is something to be really proud of,” Almira said.
Along with the now-defunct Blue Horizon Casino day cruises that ceased operations in March, the total passengers reached 502,876 for the first time since before the recession.
Cargo shipments were up 16 percent, primarily due to an increase in steel rebar imports and shipments of sugar produced in western Palm Beach County. The port, primarily an export port, processes more than $4.9 billion in commodities and over 2.5 million tons of cargoes a year.
Earlier this month Moody’s Investor Services announced the port would maintain its Baa3 rating/stable outlook on outstanding revenue bonds. The decision was based upon the port’s sustained financial performance and improved cash flow predictability over the long term.
Port chairman Wayne Richards said, “Thanks to our long-term contracts and revenue guarantees, we are able to maintain consistency through market volatility. Further, port management maintains aggressive marketing campaigns that help retain existing customers and obtain new business, allowing for a steady and growing revenue stream.”