Port Canaveral is a cruise, cargo, and naval port in Brevard County, Florida, United States. It is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world with 3.9 million cruise passengers passing through during 2014. As a deep water cargo port, it has a high volume of traffic. Over 3,000,000 short tons (2,700,000 t) of bulk cargo moves through each year. Common cargo includes cement, petroleum, and aggregate. The port has conveyors and hoppers for loading products directly into trucks, and facilities for bulk cargo containers. The channel is about 44 feet (13 m) deep.
There are 750,000 square feet (70,000 m2) of covered freight storage capacity. It handled 4,000,000 short tons (3,600,000 t) of cargo in 2004. The port exports fresh citrus; bulk frozen citrus juice stored in one of the largest freezer warehouses in the state; cement and building materials. The port receives lumber, salt for water softening, automobiles, and steel sheet and plate. It transships items for land, sea, air, and space. Port Canaveral’s Foreign Trade Zone is among the largest general-purpose FTZs in the nation – over 5 square miles (13 km2). The port boosts Brevard’s economy by 1/2 billion dollars annually.
Ten ships, on average, enter the port each day. In 1965, a lock was dedicated at the port, as part of the Canaveral Barge Canal. The Canaveral Lock is still in operation and is maintained by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The focus of the port throughout the 1960s and 1970s remained commercial fishing and shipping, with three 400-foot (120 m) cargo piers built on the north side of the Port in 1976, and a succession of warehouses built in the port area.
In the 2010s, SpaceX began using the port for their autonomous spaceport drone ships. In April 2016, the SpaceX CRS-8 booster stage was returned by the ASDS, Of Course, I Still Love You to Port Canaveral.
A recent addition to the port is the seven-story Exploration Tower, which offers tourists almost 550,000 square feet (51,000 m2) of exhibit space, interactive displays, two observation decks – one inside and one outside – a 72-seat auditorium, and event rooms, as well as a café and a gift shop.
Carnival, Disney, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean International are some of the cruise lines which dock at one of the five cruise terminals. TIn December 2014, Port Canaveral and Royal Caribbean International opened Terminal 1, a new terminal building built to handle the Oasis-class ships. It was announced in March 2015 that Port Canaveral would become the new homeport of the world’s largest cruise ship, the Oasis of the Seas.]