Seaports & Waterways

Why Seaports & Waterways Matter

The Seaport Office works with Florida’s deepwater seaports and waterways to assist in planning and funding strategic seaport projects as well as assisting with seaport-related issues.

The Office is responsible for statewide seaport system planning, coordinating with statewide freight planning, project management, coordinating seaport projects with Strategic Intermodal System (SIS) planning, and coordinating with the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development (FSTED).

Florida’s 15 public seaports create economic prosperity from waterborne commerce, supporting over 680,000 jobs throughout the state.

Florida’s seven passenger cruise ports represent the world’s largest cruise market with 19 cruise lines handling over 15.2 million revenue passengers in 2015.  The world’s top three cruise ports are in Florida.

Essential fuels, and other liquid commodities, as well as gravel, fertilizer and other dry materials are handled by our ports in bulk shipments totaling over 81 million metric tons annually.

Virtually all of our active cargo ports handle a wide–variety of general
 cargoes (break-bulk) amounting to over 6.8 million metric tons per year.


Florida is also very prominent in vehicle shipments, and is one of the top
 three US states for vehicle shipments, and the number one state for vehicle exports in 2015.

Over 3.5 million TEU’s (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) are handled annually by the state’s ten active container ports, making Florida the number five state in total container volume in 2015. Containers carry an ever growing and broadening variety of consumer goods, manufactured items, food products and commodities each year. Over 25 different container shipping lines call at Florida Ports, including 10 of the world’s top 12 ocean carriers.

Container cargoes represent a huge growth potential for Florida’s ports given the fact that in 2013 approximately 45% of the containerized cargo consumed or originating in Florida transited through a seaport outside of the state. Therefore, Florida’s ports could nearly double their container volumes without requiring an increase in market activity.

The efficiency of the entire US supply chain can increase by Florida ports capturing more of the container volumes originating from or destined to

Ports, rail and trucking services currently handling these cargoes and bringing them to/from Florida will be less congested and have increased capacity for other cargo flows. The Florida highway system will see less trucks from out of state, and long-range empty back-hauls will also decline. Increasing the capacities and capabilities of Florida’s ports and freight network will also strengthen the state’s ability to attract and grow large-scale and broad-based manufacturing activity.fast_fact-cargo_2

Thanks to billions of dollars of increased state infrastructure investments since 2011, recent growth in container volumes suggest that Florida ports are already beginning to capture some of these cargoes, and the trends in global logistics patterns, combined with Florida’s continuing investments position the state’s ports to gain an increasing share of the world’s waterborne commerce for decades to come.

The vision for the Florida Department of Transportation, Seaport Office is to continue to invest in facilities and processes that improve access and capacity at Florida’s seaports to attract and handle the increasing variety of ships and cargo types that carry the
basic commodities and valuable products which provide the necessities
and niceties to support the prosperity and well-being of Florida’s 
businesses, residents and visitors.

Florida Seaport System

Seaport System Map 2018

Contact Information

Seaports & Waterways
Dan Fitz-Patrick
State Seaports Office Manager
(850) 414-4527
FDOT Seaport and Waterways

Resources & Publications


Get to know Florida’s seaport and waterway history from the 1900’s to today.