Florida demands $15K port fee from SpaceX

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Nice first stage you got there, be a shame if something happened to it: The Florida port where SpaceX has been offloading its recovered first stages from its barge has announced that it wants to charge the company $15,000 each time.

“We view their cargo passing over our dock just like any other cargo passing our dock,” Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray said. “We’re not looking at this as an adversarial relationship. It’s no different than anything else coming across the dock. You have to pay for use of port facilities. That’s how a port makes its money.”

“The proposed wharfage fee is 14 times higher than what any other business is being charged for using port facilities,” SpaceX spokesman John Taylor said in an email to FLORIDA TODAY. “Port Canaveral is an important partner in our recovery operations. But we expect fees to be fair and reflect our actual use of the port. We’re looking forward to participating in the meeting later this week.”

The port notes that the size and the weight of the first stages cause significant wear and tear to the port, and thus should pay more. They have a point, but this still looks like they have noticed they have a customer with deep pockets that they now are trying to pick.

Posted from Linthicum, Maryland.


  • PeterF

    Shakedown, pure and simple. Funny TCM just ran “On the Waterfront” the other day.
    I wonder what the “wear and tear” consists of? Does offloading the booster cause more or less damage than a hurricane? When they offload the booster, do they have to use special, sole purpose equipment? How many longshoremen does the union require?
    If you’ve ever been on a cruise and observed the longshoremen in a foreign country, they do what needs to be done without delay. In U.S. ports, they move with the speed of molasses unless they are waiting for the guy who is supposed to operate that one piece of equipment, Then they just stand there and pick their noses.
    Return to launch point is so much better. No salt water corrosion, No transportation charges, etc., etc. Maybe they can add pop out wings on the next generation boosters like on a cruise missile to fly it back once it goes subsonic?

  • maurice

    Remote controlled heavy lift helicopters are a great way to move equipment off this barge.
    or maybe use the Bahama’s as a launch pad?

  • PeterF

    I think Costa Rica might be a better location but I bet the Castros would LOVE the income…

  • Edward

    Does anyone know what Port Canaveral charged for the Space Shuttle External Tank

  • enginemike

    The Shuttle external tank did not come thru Port Canaveral. KSC has its own facility.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *