Portmiami’s Outlook is Solid: Rating Agencies Upgrade Bond Rating

Author  Andria Muñiz-Amador

MIAMI, Florida – PortMiami’s credit rating was upgraded to ‘A3’ with an outlook change to stable by Moody’s Investor Services while Fitch Ratings affirmed PortMiami’s ‘A’ rating with a stable outlook. The ‘A’ rating by both Moody’s and Fitch reflects PortMiami’s strong competitive position as the Cruise Capital of the World and as a leading cargo port, highlighting its fundamental operating strengths, and its sizeable minimum annual guaranteed revenues. With strong profit margins of 48.5% from 2013-2018, passenger and cargo volume increases of approximately 37% and 20%respectively, from 2013-2018, and anticipated capital improvements of around $1.5 billion, PortMiami is situated to continue as the leading port in the cruise industry.

Portmiama aa“The upgrade is a testament to Miami-Dade County’s strategic financial investments,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez.  “The deployed infrastructure is certainly paying off at PortMiami.  2018 was a record year for the Port in terms of cargo and passenger growth, and we anticipate the future to be even better.  Cruise line partners are seeking to build new facilities to accommodate the next generation of cruise vessels. Cargo partners are also making significant infrastructure investments to increase operational capacity and container throughput.  At Miami-Dade County it’s all about continued growth and expansion, resulting in more job creation.”

 Last October, PortMiami celebrated Royal Caribbean’s grand opening of Cruise Terminal A, the Crown of Miami, among the nation’s largest and most innovative cruise facility and home to the world’s largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas.  In 2018 the line also added PortMiami sailings for its Empress of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, and welcomed the newly renovated Mariner of the Seas.  The line currently generates about 30 percent of the cruise traffic at the port, but recently closed a deal to build a new $300 million state-of-the-art campus doubling their workforce.

In 2018 Oceania Cruises and Disney Cruise Line extended their winter seasons.  The Port also welcomed three new cruise lines: Viking Ocean Cruises, Victory Cruise Lines, and Seabourn. Additionally, Carnival Cruise Line’s welcomed the Carnival Magic and its new-build, the Carnival Horizon.  MSC also introduced its new-build, the MSC Seaside, to the port’s line-up.

Construction continues on Cruise Terminal B, The Pearl of Miami.  The terminal is slated to open in early 2020.  Once completed, it is anticipated to facilitate at least 1.3 to 1.8 million Norwegian Cruise Line passenger moves a year, generating $28 million or more in annual revenues for Miami-Dade County. Norwegian, which in late 2018 welcomed the 4,002-passenger Norwegian Bliss to its PortMiami lineup, has designed the new facility to accommodate ships in the 5,000-plus-passenger range.

MSC Cruises is seeking to build a mega cruise facility for homeporting its largest class of vessels and once finalized, PortMiami will have inked the first $1 billion deal in the cruise industry. Disney Cruise Line has proposed a dedicated terminal as part of a pledge to increase its presence, while Virgin Voyages looks to break ground in fall 2019 on a 100,000-square-foot terminal slated for completion in time for the fall 2021.  This terminal will service the line’s first ship, the 2,770-passenger, adults-only Scarlet Lady.

The Port’s cargo partners are also making significant infrastructure investments.  Seaboard Marine recently opened a new 15,000 square ft. maintenance and repair building offering enhancements to increase cargo handling capabilities as well as the maintenance of its equipment fleet.  In January South Florida Container Terminal also launched a new cargo yard densification project to increase its operational capacity and container throughput.  Port of Miami Terminal Operating Company keeps improving by investing in new container handling equipment and technological capabilities. 

“The upgrade follows several major announcements that additional cruise ships will homeport at the Cruise Capital of the World and thus requiring the need for more cruise facilities,” said Chairwoman of Miami-Dade County’s Tourism and Ports Committee Rebeca Sosa. “In addition, the stable outlook also reflects a vote of confidence from the rating agencies not only due to past investments but for the continued growth and expansion of our cargo partners.” 

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