In 1918, a special act of the Florida Legislature established a taxing district to fund the construction of the Fort Pierce Inlet. St. Lucie County became the port authority and has remained so through an act of legislature since that time.
Beginning in 1920, with the actual completion of the Fort Pierce Inlet, the port thrived, first as a hub for the coastwise shipping of Florida citrus and produce. The port was then converted into a U.S. Navy base in World War II before finally establishing itself as a shipping hub to the Bahamas.
The Port of Fort Pierce has been unique among Florida ports in that its working waterfront, the Indian River Terminal and much of the rest of the port were held in private ownership. That changed in January 2018, when St. Lucie County acquired the terminal with a goal of transforming it from a dated cargo facility to a purpose-built shipyard for the maintenance, refit and overhaul of megayachts.
The Port of Fort Pierce is in a state of dramatic transformation. The bold decision of the St. Lucie Board of County Commissioners to purchase the former Indian River Terminal, once a bustling cargo facility that had fallen into stagnation through shifting markets, and lack of resources for need improvements to infrastructure, is the catalyst. The purchase was made with the specific purpose of converting the land into a mega yacht maintenance, refit, and overhaul facility for very large (200 feet or longer) motor yachts and large sailing vessels. Derecktor Ft Pierce, LLC began operations on November 1, 2019. Within a year it will erect the world’s largest mobile vessel hoist. After years of inertia, it is expected that this “new” facility will be the catalyst for development of the large tracts of waterfront property that remains undeveloped, as part of or complementing to this new market.
Goals & Objectives
- Job creation and economic growth through successful development and operation of the former Indian River Terminal by Derecktor Ft Pierce, LLC
- Development of vast undeveloped port properties (included County-owned Harbour Pointe)
- Development of robust job training/apprenticeship programs
Current or Planned Investments
- Our projects reflect the conversion of a decades old cargo terminal into a purpose-built facility specifically for the maintenance refit and overhaul of megayachts over 200 feet in length and large sailing vessels that include dock rehabilitation and upgrades.
- Terminal improvements, including paving to support heavy vessels
- Gate relocation and construction
- Acquisition of the former Indian River (Cargo) Terminal
- Selection of Derecktor Shipyards, Inc. to operate the former Indian River Terminal for the operation and development of megayacht maintenance, refit, overhaul facility.
- Demolition of the 50+ year-old citrus packing house to provide critical uplands space for megayacht MRO.
St. Lucie, Indian River, Okeechobee, Highlands, Hendry, Glades and Martin counties.
Broaden and strengthen the economic base of the regional community by providing adequate infrastructure and development processes for mixed-use port development.