You will soon likely see more vehicles entering and leaving Port Everglades because the Broward County Commission has greenlighted Horizon Terminal Services to convert a 6.5-acre marine terminal at Port Everglades into an automobile processing facility. The terminal will be used to import and export vehicles internationally. For example, they will import General Motors cars from Mexico, and export Honda cars, made in Talladega, to various locations in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

“The cars will be parked at the terminal until they are ready for the market,” said Ellen Kennedy, Port spokesperson.

Horizon wants to shift its operations from the southern area of the port to mid-port and closer to the dock. Moving would mean less mileage on vehicles transported to and from the ships, as well as less chance of damage occurring. Both locations are in Hollywood, and the new location is the former Chiquita Fresh North America. Horizon expects the move to allow the number of vehicles handled at the Port from 15,000 to 50,000 annually over the next five years. It is expected to create 25 more jobs.

“This will increase our revenue and allow an existing customer to expand business at the Port. We believe it provides a great opportunity to diversify the cargo coming through Port Everglades,” Kennedy said.

Also, Broward County has transferred ownership of about 60 acres of wetlands habitat at Port Everglades, including the 16.5-acre Wetland Enhancement Project, to the State of Florida for its permanent protection as a conservation area. Also, the State is developing a memorandum of understanding with the South Florida Audubon Society to manage the conservation area. The land transfer completes a critical component of the Port Everglades-Southport Turning Notch Extension project that will increase berth space for cargo ships at the constrained seaport.

“This project is proof that Port Everglades can develop and expand its maritime facilities to meet current and future market demands, while enhancing and protecting the critical environmental habitat within the port,” said Port Everglades chief executive and port director Steven Cernak. “Port staff worked closely with port users, the environmental community, especially the South Florida Audubon Society, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), to develop a new mangrove habitat that significantly increases the amount of mangrove conservation area in a more environmentally advantageous location within the port.”

Over the past two years, Port Everglades developed a wetlands habitat and cultivated about 70,000 mangroves and other wetland plants to create 16.5 acres of habitat that was a dry-stack marina and parking lot. This transfer allows 8.7 acres of an existing mangrove area to be removed and included in the Southport Turning Notch Extension project, making way for five new cargo ship berths. The Port’s 16.5-acre Wetland Enhancement Project restores and creates mangrove wetlands, and has been added to an existing conservation area to provide more sustainable habitat for a diverse number of aquatic species and a nesting habitat for birds.