Doug Wheeler, President & CEO, Florida Ports Council
During the COVID-19 crisis, ports across the country have sustained mounting losses.
In Florida, where our ports support more than $117 billion in economic impact and 900,000 direct and indirect jobs — we continue to face many challenges in recovery. Whether moving over a hundred million tons of cargo annually or millions of US and international cruise passengers, Florida’s seaports generate and support a vast array of commerce and are the gateway for shipment of goods into and out of Florida.
Communities from the Panhandle to the Florida Keys depend on port revenues, jobs, and taxes to support their economies. During the pandemic, we have continued to advocate for federal funding to assist the maritime industry, but in the meantime, the commitment of local communities, our cruise and cargo partners, and the state government has helped us navigate the crisis to the best of our abilities.
We have worked day in and day out with partners at the local, state, and federal level to ensure our ports maintain a state of readiness and have the necessary infrastructure to move cargo across the state, the nation, and the globe.
Recent studies have shown Florida’s ports remain resilient to disasters, from recurring hurricanes to disruptions to the global supply chain. We continue to grow and diversify — in goods and services, trade partners, and innovative technologies — to help us withstand and endure the myriad challenges we face.
Although we know the COVID‑19 pandemic will continue to impact our port economies into the unforeseeable future, every single day, Florida’s ports continue to deliver critical goods to individuals, families, and businesses. Our ports are economic engines of our communities, and they will be instrumental in getting the state’s, and the nation’s, economy back on track.