Florida Seaports Are Seizing Opportunities For Larger Share of Trade

By: Michael Rubin, President & CEO, Florida Ports Council
Special to: Florida Ocean Alliance; Word Count: 312

For more than a year, Americans have had a front-row seat to the supply chain crisis
that has disrupted not only the flow of goods and commerce, but has laid bare this man-
made crisis in the making.

Images of cargo ships floating in a virtual parking lot off the West Coast, combined with
a lack of federal investments, many experts contend, could be seen coming long before
the pandemic.

While this crisis in the making was left simmering for years before COVID-19, Florida
was already hard at work strengthening our trade and logistics efforts to help ensure
Sunshine State seaports would be ready to compete on an international level. State
investments in Florida’s ports helped ensure we would be prepared to capitalize on
super-sized post-Panamax ships.

Therefore, when the pandemic hit, Florida was not only prepared – we capitalized. We
hit supply chain challenges head-on, sharing with the world how our efficient and
uncongested seaports and their 24/7 capabilities provided an attractive alternative to
problems seen elsewhere. More and more shipping lines, particularly Asian shipping
lines, changed shipping lanes to call on Florida.

Thanks to the support of Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of
Transportation, additional investments in Florida’s ports continues – helping ensure our
seaports take on an even larger share of international trade and logistics efforts.
While I believe that much about the overall national and international supply chain is
broken, I’m hopeful that more will evolve from our federal partners to help with this. In
recent weeks, Port Tampa Bay and PortMiami were awarded federal REACH grants to
help with a new berth and rail system upgrades.

In recent weeks, Florida’s port leaders gathered to continue building on this positive
momentum. Rest assured, there is much work already in motion to further capitalize on
Florida’s forward momentum, and we can’t wait to take our efforts to the next level.