Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) integrates real-time environmental observations, forecasts and other geospatial information, while it measures and disseminates observations and predictions of water levels, currents, salinity, and meteorological parameters (e.g., winds, atmospheric pressure, air and water temperatures) that mariners need to navigate safely.
The system can also provide considerable economic benefit to the local community. Already one of the busiest ports in the world, Miami’s harbor supports over a hundred thousand jobs while providing billions to the national economy. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said:
Through PORTS partnerships, seaports have the opportunity to increase the flow of cargo through their docks without the massive outlays normally associated with port expansion...These are the types of strategic infrastructure investments we aim to make through the Commerce-led $20 billion ’transformative projects’ program within the President’s infrastructure initiative.
Before the addition of PortMiami, a NOAA analysis estimated as much as a $300 million annual benefit from an expanded PORTS system. Including PortMiami, there are 31 PORTS in the US, supporting 85% of the nation’s cargo by tonnage.
Representing a new opportunity for economic growth, larger cargo ships are transiting the Panama Canal each year, carrying millions of tons of goods. The New Panamax class is capable of holding twice the amount of cargo as those using the canal before it was widened.