Your Port

Your Port: Specifics

Let’s break this down into different categories. As mentioned before this is already a port that is currently in use. Right now, there is a depth 12’-15’, Width 250’ and directly connects to the gulf from US 19. It ends approximately 7.5 Miles off-shore at the Power Plant Barge Channel Intersection. There is a key cut in the middle of the barge canal that is 1650’ in length and 250’ wide. Just to give you some perspective – it’s approximately 6.5 miles from US 19 to the Gulf.

The Port Authority Board is made up of five members. The five Citrus County commissioners serve on the Port Authority board. The County Administrator sits as the Port Director and the County Attorney sits as the Port Attorney.

Florida Ports Council/Florida Seaport Transportation & Economic Development Council (FSTED)

The Florida legislature annually allocates state funding for port development. While Florida’s seaports are independently operated and managed, FDOT and the seaports work together in a partnership through the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council (FSTED) to appropriate the funds. FSTED has statutory planning responsibility for preparing the Seaport Mission Plan. FDOT has responsibility for developing statewide transportation plans. Modal plans for highways, rail, aviation, and transit have been developed, but a statewide modal plan for Florida’s seaports had not been developed in the past.

M10 Maritime Highway

The M10 corridor includes the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway and connecting commercial navigation, channels, ports and harbors. It stretches from Brownsville, TX to New Orleans, Port St Joe and Port Manatee, Florida and includes Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. It connects to the M-49 corridor at Morgan City, LA, the M-65 corridor in Mobile, AL, and the M-55 in New Orleans, LA. H. Keith Lesnick, the Maritime Administration’s association administrator for Intermodal System Development, explained that the Marine Highway designation would provide direct federal assistance for the project. The M10, Cross Gulf Container Expansion Project, a 926-mile sea route across the Gulf of Mexico “will build on existing container-on-barge service between Brownsville and Port Manatee, Florida.” The federal aid will include help in promoting the project within the maritime industry, and assistance in development of coastal infrastructure in support of the M-10 route. The M-10 route spans five states and ten major metropolitan areas and currently is served on a 10-day interval by a single ship. In May of 2011: Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 283 to give Florida ports a competitive edge. This bill also amended 311.09 to include Port Citrus.

Current Use/Ownership

The property bordering the Barge canal is a mix of state lands and privately owned property. West of the US 19 bridge, the private lands along the north shore are owned by Citrus Mining & Timber. In 2009, Citrus Mining & Timber successfully petitioned for an amendment to the Citrus County Comprehensive Plan to develop a Port land use plan for the property to facilitate development as a working waterfront. The lands to the south of the barge canal are owned by Holcim , Inc, a subsidiary of Holcim Ltd, one of the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of cement and mineral components.

History of the Citrus County Port Authority

The CCPA was formed in 1984 by Special Act, and has recently reconvened based on the recent legislative change that adds Port Citrus to the list of Florida Ports [Chapter 311, Florida Statutes]. The CCPA has the following rights and authority: (1) To acquire land, submerged land and water rights by purchase, gift, condemnation or otherwise and to hold and dispose of the same upon such terms and conditions as it shall deem necessary and prudent and to improve such land or lands so acquired in any manner which promotes or has a tendency to promote the public good of Citrus County. (2) To construct wharves, docks, platforms, airports, airdromes, hangars, airfields, hydroplane landing stations, trestles, causeways, fills, bridges, channels, tunnels, jetties, ports, warehouses, shipping facilities via land or water or air, ferries, aquariums, radio broadcasting and receiving stations, lighting and water systems, streets, sidewalks, pre-cooling and cold storage plants, and to do all other things incidental and necessary to the enumerated items in order to promote, create, maintain and operate a commercial port for vessels, aircraft, railroad terminals, and facilities for connecting to trunk line railroads. (3) To contract. (4) To take by eminent domain. (5) To sue and be sued in the name of its corporate authority or administrative agency. (6) To prescribe, fix, maintain and regulate charges, tolls, or rents for the use of any of its facilities by persons or things. (7) To mortgage, pledge, or otherwise encumber any of its property or assets upon terms and conditions consistent with Florida law. This power shall be full and complete in all respects in order to promote, construct, accomplish, maintain and operate any of the public purposes or projects herein enumerated. (8) To borrow money and to incur indebtedness by the issuance of revenue bonds or certificates, with or without security, as the port authority may determine. (9) To adopt and enforce reasonable rules and regulations or procedures pertaining to the use, acquisition, maintenance, development, operation or disposal of any of the facilities or projects herein enumerated, including the right to grant exclusive or nonexclusive franchises for all goods and services. (10) To acquire, do and perform all things herein enumerated separately or jointly or in conjunction with a municipality or other political subdivision of the state whether the same be within or without the territorial limits of Citrus County. (11) To employ secretaries, attorneys, engineers, and other technical assistants and employees as necessary.

Request for Qualification (RFQ)

The Legislation which recognized Port Citrus as Florida’s 15th port included a provision to conduct a feasibility study of the port proposal by 2014. The expertise to complete this study will require the Port Authority to hire a qualified firm. The Port Authority will utilize an RFQ (Request for Qualification) process to select the successful applicant. Unlike a Request for Proposal where the process gives great weight to cost (low bidder), the RFQ process focuses on the experience and past work of the applicants. The Port Feasibility study RFQ will include the following criteria: • Demonstrated familiarity with port development in Florida and along the Gulf Coast with specific expertise in market analysis, economic impact analysis, financial feasibility analysis, and identifying trade and logistics systems. • Demonstrated ability to work cooperatively with state and federal agencies involved with port regulation of funding • Demonstrated familiarity with various port-related funding sources and prior success with identifying and obtaining project funding • Demonstrated ability to work cooperatively with various governmental entities, business interests, and public advocacy groups. • Demonstrated administrative capabilities. • Ability to represent the CCPA in a positive, proactive manner. Based on input from the Florida Ports Council and other Florida Ports staff, interest in the RFQ is expected to be high. If many applicants are received, they will be ranked by a designated evaluation team and the highest ranked firms will be given an opportunity to provide an oral presentation to the Port Authority. The Port Authority by formal vote will rank the firms. The Port Director and Port Authority will then negotiate a scope of services and fee with the top ranked firm. If they fail to come to terms, negotiations with the second ranked firm will occur. The Port Authority has the final authority on finalization of the scope of services and execution of the contract. The CCPA desires a feasibility study that focuses on readily achievable port development based on existing physical characteristics of the barge canal. The feasibility study will include an analysis of the current lands abutting the canal, and include a market assessment that analyzes local commodity flows to identify potential market opportunities for Port Citrus. Finally, the port feasibility study will conclude with a fact-supported recommendation that the viability of development of a public port will be a sound investment and result in a positive economic return. Upon completion, the feasibility study will be submitted for formal acceptance by the Port Authority and the final study will be submitted to the State for review as required by the State.


In terms of supporting infrastructure to the port, four-lane US 19 has been recently resurfaced. Two new modern bridges over the Barge Canal have been recently completed. Port Citrus is also in close proximity to the northern terminus of the Suncoast Parkway extension. Many have asked why the expansion of the Panama Canal will have such a great economic impact on Florida. In recent decades ships have increased in both size and number. The Panama Canal first opened in 1914 and will be expanded to handle ships that can carry twice the amount of containers as in the past. Panama is investing more than $4billion to add a wider and deeper third lane to the canal to handle those mega-ships. The Panama Canal expansion will be completed in 2014 and will be a game-changer for world trade; especially for coastal areas such as Florida. This expansion presents an enormous opportunity for the state of Florida to expand its role as a major import and export state as well its role as a national distribution center. Existing high capacity electric transmission lines are available for large scale service to the Port. They are located to the east of the proposed study area and circles around to the Progress Energy Generating Complex. A gas transmission line is already present stretching directly through the proposed study area.