Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning 2024

99 NORTH AMERICA: INTERVIEW People and partnerships Located in Miami-Dade County, PortMiami handles more cruise ship calls than almost any other port in the world. In 2022, the port welcomed over four million passengers, and in 2023 anticipates a new record number of passengers. But how does the port handle the pressure of delivering a high-quality experience to every visitor? According to Hydi Webb, port director and CEO, the answer lies in prioritising people and partnerships. “The port is only as strong as its employees and its partners,” says Webb. “Continual communication with our cruise partners, the stevedoring companies, the International Longshoremen’s Association, the Biscayne Pilots Association, and regulatory agencies are key to smooth and successful ship calls.” The port is also continuing to invest in its facilities to ensure that operations remain as efficient as possible. In the past five years, it has opened new terminals in partnership with Royal Caribbean Group, Norwegian Cruise Line Virgin Voyages and Carnival Cruise Line, while MSC Cruises will open its AA/AAA cruise terminals in 2024. “Continued investments in capital infrastructure projects are critical to support and improve our cruise operations,” says Webb. “The development of new cruise terminals and auxiliary infrastructure projects, such as roadways and the tunnel, provisioning buildings and garages, also allow us to better handle the higher passenger traffic and increased demand for our port.” PortMiami’s cruise business contributes $43 billion to the local economy, making it one of the most important economic drivers for the entire Miami-Dade area. “Cruise tourism is a major driver of economic growth and job creation, which is critical to ensuring economic resilience,” says Webb. “As the port continues to drive Miami-Dade County’s economy forward, it will create opportunities for residents and businesses across our county. The port is committed to innovative, efficient and sustainable growth.” To achieve sustainable growth, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava launched an initiative to bring shore power to PortMiami in 2021, in collaboration with its major cruise line partners and Florida Power & Light. Upon completion, shore power will be available at five cruise terminals with the ability to plug in three ships at a time. “Not only is reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Miami-Dade County one of the mayor’s top initiatives, but it is also the right and responsible thing to do for the port and our partners,” says Webb. “As one of the county’s economic engines, it is essential for the port to set the framework and be an example of how sustainability can seamlessly be incorporated into dayto-day operations.” Hydi Webb explains to Alex Smith how PortMiami handles one of the busiest cruise schedules in the world while continuing to promote sustainable growth “ The port is only as strong as its employees and its partners” Photo: MSC Cruises