Over Fiscal Year 2015, Port of Palm Beach experienced an increase in cargo and container volume, with highest increases in utility fuel oil and sugar products. The vessels that carry oil and sugar call solely upon Berth 16, located on the newly restored and reconstructed Slip #3.
In the Second Quarter of 2015, the Port of Palm Beach completed a $27.2 million major renovation project that included an increased depth of 35 feet (from 33’) and a northward shift of approximately 10 feet. The depth increase now allows vessels to fully load without waiting on a rising tide, thus increasing tonnage and efficiency per sailing. Year over year, Port of Palm Beach saw a 75% increase in utility fuel imports and a 9.8% increase in sugar shipments. This increase was made possible due to uninterrupted service throughout the construction process and the increased volume allowances resultant of the slip’s increased depth.
The increase in cargo activity resulted in strong revenues for the port during FY2015, which ended September 30, 2015. To top off the year, on October 2, 2015, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. upgraded the Port of Palm Beach District senior rating to Baa3 from Ba1, and reported the outlook to be stable. The report documented the port’s strengths and recent developments as the agency’s rationale for the ratings upgrade, stating:
The upgrade to Baa3 recognizes the port’s sustained financial improvement due to successful contract renewals with its largest customers. The improved margins experienced over the last four fiscal years are expected to continue in the mid-term, supported by tenant minimum annual revenue guarantee that improve the port’s cash flow predictability.
Since 2008, operating revenues have steadily increased. The five-year compounded annual growth rate in 2014 was 8.3% in FY 2014. Revenue forecasts for FY 2016 predict continued growth due to minimum annual revenue guarantees in tenant leases combined with forecasts for higher passenger and parking revenues related to cruise operations.
As Port of Palm Beach looks into 2016, it maintains constant efforts to ensure its financial stability and success through infrastructure improvements such as on-dock rail replacement and berth refurbishment, and business development.