News & Updates

President’s Message: May 2024

Mike Rubin President & CEO

We’ve long focused on how Florida’s system of seaports plays an outsized role on the Sunshine State’s economy. From economic impact to jobs, the most recent economic data has shown that Florida’s seaports account for 13.3 percent of Florida’s GDP. Now we’re learning that the economic footprint of our 16 seaports is growing significantly.

During the West Coast supply chain fiasco of 2021 and 2022, Florida’s reliable and resilient seaports proved that they were a key solution to breaking the logjam of ships needing to get goods from ship to shelf. Now, new economic data shows just how important Florida’s system of seaports have been in not only resolving California’s supply chain debacle, but how efficient and effective we are handling record-breaking cargo volume and moving record-numbers of cruise passengers.

A newly released study from PortMiami shows their annual economic impact has increased significantly to $61.4 billion, up from $41.4 billion in 2016. The number of jobs supported by PortMiami’s cruise and cargo operation has grown to 340,078, up from 334,500 in just eight years.

JAXPORT is also seeing significant growth. A new study shows the port accounts for $33 billion in annual economic output and is responsible for nearly 207,000 jobs across Florida. For JAXPORT, this is double-digit growth in their total statewide job impact over the last five years.

Investments in port infrastructure have certainly contributed to the growing strength of our seaports. Remaining an attractive and competitive seaport state will be essential to ensuring that Florida continues to secure even more cargo volume.

With cruising having roared back to record-breaking levels following pandemic lows, we’re seeing strong growth in the number of new cruise ships homeporting at a Florida seaport. The number of cruise excursions is also increasing. To meet this growing demand, Port Canaveral has made a strategic decision to build a new multi-user cruise terminal at its existing North 8 berth. Further, they’re expediting the construction timeline to accommodate the largest ships in the world across a spectrum of brands that homeport at Port Canaveral.

These are exciting times for Florida’s seaports, and it’s news like this that we’ve appreciated the opportunity to share – especially during World Trade Month. I also appreciated sharing the successes of our seaports during the national Ports and Terminal Technology Conference held in recent weeks.

As we look to the future, there are important upcoming planning sessions to help ensure we’re strategically aligned in our advocacy efforts. Port directors will gather in Orlando on June 19 for our strategic planning session. Look for more details on this in the coming days.

Finally, the Atlantic hurricane season is just around the corner, and by all accounts, this season is expected to be extremely active. The resiliency of our seaports is strong, and I know Florida’s port personnel have been practicing and planning, and are ready to weather the season.

Rest assured that the Florida Ports Council is also prepared for the June 1- November 30 season, and will be communicating important storm-related messages as it becomes necessary throughout the season.

Thank you for your continued support.