TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (February 18, 2015) – The Florida Ports Council today released detailed opportunities to grow Florida’s trade and jobs via the state’s seaports in a new report titled the Analysis of Global Opportunities and Challenges for Florida’s Seaports (“Analysis”). The Analysis reveals specific examples of containers that come to Florida from non-Florida ports that, if captured, could potentially double container cargo coming through Florida ports, therefore significantly increasing the economic benefits to the state. The Analysis also found that Florida has a demonstrable cost advantage against competitor states in delivering goods to market.
“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature, our state has made tremendous strides in enhancing our freight transportation system,” stated Val Schwec, Chairman of the Florida Ports Council. “However, we needed to examine the opportunities and challenges to significantly expanding our international trade to further position Florida as a global trade leader. This Analysis provides the data necessary for us to target prospective shippers effectively and market our freight assets to premier businesses using competitor U.S. ports.”
The Analysis also examines challenges that need to be addressed in order for Florida to grow as a global hub, specifically out-of-date processes; unnecessary regulations; and the need for additional tools to compete with nearby states to attract new manufacturers and businesses.
Governor Rick Scott said, “Over the past four years, we’ve invested over $850 million to improve Florida ports and their capacity to create jobs and drive Florida’s growing economy. This is part of our commitment to invest $1 billion in our ports over the course of our administration. The Florida Ports Council has been an important partner as we continue to promote Florida as the place for businesses to complete and succeed globally. Florida is on a mission to become the global leader in job creation, and this report demonstrates that by continuing to make our ports a priority, we are taking crucial steps toward meeting that goal.”
One overriding recommendation of the Analysis is that the state of Florida and Florida seaports increase their efforts in sharing the logistics advantages and infrastructure assets through targeted marketing efforts. These advantages and assets are a direct result of the recent freight infrastructure investments and commitment to trade by Florida’s Governor, Legislature and agency partners.
Reactions from Florida’s Economic and Freight Partners
FDOT Secretary Jim Boxold said, “The Florida Ports Council Global Opportunities Report highlights a specific area of significant growth for Florida ports. The report’s findings identify avenues for Florida ports to grow by capturing more of the cargo already destined for Florida markets. I commend Florida’s ports for their contribution to the freight transportation system in the state and to growing Florida’s economy.”
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said, “Florida’s 15 seaports are a gateway to the world economy, and are an asset to our state that provide thousands of jobs for Florida families, infrastructure for global trade, and economic growth. Initiatives to expand Florida’s global trade community will position our state as a leader in world trade, strengthen businesses for trade with countries around the world, and improve the quality of life for our citizens.”
“Thanks to the support of our Governor and State Legislature, Florida has made important infrastructure investments in recent years,” said Bill Johnson, former chair of the Florida Ports Council and newly appointed CEO and President of Enterprise Florida Inc., the state’s principle economic development agency. “However, ongoing infrastructure investments are needed if Florida is to remain a leader in today’s fiercely competitive global marketplace.”
“The Florida Chamber of Commerce supports strategic investments in our infrastructure and ports that position Florida to capitalize on the opportunity to create more private sector jobs in trade, logistics and manufacturing,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “We are proud to support our partners at the Florida Ports Council as they build on the momentum from the Chamber Foundation’s Trade & Logistics study and further help position Florida as a global trade leader.”