"Right now we have about 1,500 members. Only about 600 of those members have a good living as a longshoreman so if we have more jobs here more people that can make a decent living here," said Keith Hopkins, who's been a longshoreman for 25 years.

The project that would allow bigger and more ships to come here is in the hands of Congress.  In January, Gov. Rick Scott approved $38 million for the project, but it's tied up at the federal level. President Obama has the ability to speed it up.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio supports efforts to fund port improvements.

"I think everyone supports the dredging project. The two impediments have been money and authorization. Because of a quirk in the federal law that even though the state is spending that money, the federal government had to authorize them to spend that money. And that will be cleared up in the federal version of the bill," said Rubio.