News & Updates

Florida Ports Council concerned current seaport regulatory structure could be harmed by proposed legislation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Ports Council joined members of the maritime industry today to discuss current seaport regulations with the Senate Transportation Committee. Proposed legislation (SB 426/HB 267) preempts regulation of commerce at Florida’s 15 public seaports to the state. Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the Florida Ports Council, Mike Rubin, made the following statements regarding the current regulatory environment at Florida’s ports.

“I would like to address the misconception of a “patchwork of regulations” with respect to seaport operations in Florida. This “patchwork” premise is simply incorrect,” Rubin said. “Florida seaports conduct their operations pursuant to a myriad of federal regulations and local tariff agreements enacted pursuant to federal law.”

Examples of regulatory compliance currently in place at Florida’s seaports that were noted by Rubin include:

  • Specific regulations created by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Federal Maritime Commission, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency regarding navigational harbors and shipping, including the construction and operation of waterfront port facilities and the regulation of oceangoing vessel operations.
  • The oversight of all oceangoing vessel and waterfront facility activity anywhere in Florida by four U.S. Coast Guard Districts’ Captains of the Port.
  • The oversight of all passenger and cargo movements in Florida by Customs and Border Protection Directors at 24 Border Protection Ports of Entry in the state, including on port at most of Florida’s local government seaports.
  • The oversight of any cargo use agreement involving ocean transportation created by seaports with maritime entities by the Federal Maritime Commission.

“We are concerned with any legislation that impacts Florida seaports’ ability to conduct business with the private sector and other maritime partners,” Rubin continued. “Broad legislation preempting and voiding seaports’ ability to conduct maritime business on local government property would be detrimental to their business operations and the state’s economy.”