MSC's Florida port deal on rocks: Report

MSC's Florida port deal on rocks: Report

A campaign by Florida's Port Everglades to lure Mediterranean Steamship Co. from rival Port of Miami could be running aground on objections by several Broward County commissioners to the terms of the 20-year deal, according to a report in the Miami Herald.

Commissioners, who are scheduled to vote on the deal at a public hearing on June 22, objected to the length of the agreement as well as a provision that would cap the annual amount the port could increase the tariffs it would charge MSC. That cap of 1.5 percent growth would be in place for two decades.

''It's 20 years that really bugs the crap out of me,'' Commissioner John Rodstrom told the newspaper. "It's a long, long time.''

Their concerns were echoed by the Port Everglades Association, the port's business organization. MSC's competitors fear the company negotiated such generous terms that it would be able to undercut other operators.

Several commissioners also argued for leveraging MSC's desire to move out of the Port of Miami as a bargaining chip.

Others pushed hard to go ahead with the deal and criticized their colleagues for questioning the contract's provisions before it comes to the public hearing.

MSC will be required to meet strict performance goals: $1.6 million guaranteed payment to the county the first year, $2 million the second year and $2.6 million the third year.

''We're bringing a lot to the table,'' John Mullaney, a senior vice president of U.S. operations for MSC, told the newspaper. ``We'll be the largest company in Port Everglades and we're the second-largest shipping company in the world. We're bringing a lot.''