By Michael Rubin, President and CEO
With Christmas just around the corner, many Americans have become supply chain nerds as they, albeit frustrated, still await that special gift to place under the tree. And as the clock ticks toward Christmas Day, one thing that is certain is time – the most valuable commodity in the world of trade.
Now a new report out on transit times shows that its faster for vessels from China to travel to the East Coast than it is to transit to the West Coast – further cementing our message that Florida is playing a vital role in helping unclog the nation’s supply chain crisis. Already, more and more cargo ships are calling on Florida seaports to avoid logjams on the West Coast, and Florida’s open for business 24/7 strategy is connecting commerce and helping ensure goods get from ship to shelf.
Thanks to Governor Ron DeSantis and DOT Secretary Kevin Thibault, Florida’s seaports are well poised to double its capacity of cargo containers received – from 4 million to 8 million containers a year. And the Governor’s 2022-2023 state budget recommendations unveiled earlier this month, will further solidify Florida as the first port of call for getting goods to America’s market.
“We’ve been 24/7 operations at a lot of our major ports for a number of years now. So, we have that ability to take containers and other cargo off those ships and route those through. We’ve invested close to a billion dollars just under this Governor’s leadership, just on how do I get the goods from here out into the market,” DOT Secretary Thibault told Lawrence Jones on Fox News.
The Florida Ports Council continues to work with DOT and our partners in Florida’s supply chain network to help ensure that all parts of the supply chain are operating at full capacity. That includes supporting our partners in the trucking industry, and recent efforts through Florida’s Job Growth Grant Fund to help educate and increase the number of truckers we have in the Sunshine State.
Making Florida your first port of call is a message that is also generating bipartisan support in our nation’s capital. In a letter to President Biden, Florida’s congressional delegation has offered to work with the Biden administration to use Florida’s ports as an alternative to the West Coast that continues to see unprecedented delays in offloading cargo, leading to severe supply chain congesting.
“As the holidays approach, American businesses and families are feeling the effects firsthand of the continued supply chain bottlenecks,” said Congressman Vern Buchanan who led the letter signed by 17 bipartisan members of the Florida congressional delegation. “Given Florida’s unique geographic location, our 15 deepwater seaports can handle increased fright traffic and meet holiday demands for consumers around the country, and they are ready to get to work.”
With 2021 almost in the history books, one thing we’ve learned this year is that – despite the national economic consequences of the pandemic – Florida’s ports are once again thriving, and the unified voice sharing our “Florida is open for business” message is working.
Thank you to our port directors, port employees, Governor DeSantis, DOT Secretary Thibault, and Florida’s congressional delegation for your dedication to ensure Florida’s seaports succeed. I’m convinced that 2022 will be a year of even greater success, and a further opportunity to show that Florida is the pier to the world.