News & Updates

Seaport Spotlight: Connecting Florida to Fuel, Food& Supplies After Hurricane Ian

Florida’s 16 seaports have strong relationships with the Florida Department of Transportation, our partners at the Florida Trucking Association, and our federal safety partners at the U.S. Coast Guard.

We know the importance of ensuring that food, fuel and supplies are deployed efficiently both before and after a hurricane. We also recognize the importance of deploying our seaport hurricane safety plans to ensure that our port facilities, as well as the employees who work at our ports, are safe and secure.

As Hurricane Ian approached Florida in late September, our primary fuel seaports – Port Tampa Bay, Port Everglades, and SeaPort Manatee – were actively coordinating with the trucking industry to ensure fuel continued to flow and that it could be safely transported to communities for use before and after landfall.

When it became necessary, the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Ports closed many Florida seaports for brief periods of time – just long enough to allow the storm to pass over. Once the storm had moved away from the ports, and following inspections by the Coast Guard, Florida’s seaports were safely reopened.

While three of four fuel seaports had to close for a period of time during Hurricane Ian, Port Everglades was able to remain open and was not severely delayed in its fuel distribution efforts even as Ian made landfall. Following the storm, seaports moved with haste in getting even more fuel into the storm ravaged region of Southwest Florida.

With much of Southwest Florida continuing with their recovery efforts, Florida’s 16 seaports will continue to play a vital role as a transportation hub and in fuel operations.

While all of this may sound easy, there are a lot of moving parts to ensure a seaport hurricane plan is executed smoothly. Our ports practice for these events every year, because execution before, during and after a storm is absolutely critical to getting our state back up on its feet again.

We extend a very special thanks to our over-the-road Florida trucking partners for their dedication, and the leading role they play to ensure fuel makes it from our seaports to gas stations. Additionally, special thanks to the Florida Department of Transportation for their leadership, and recognition that seaports are an important transportation hub working to keep Florida’s recovery efforts moving.

While the road to recovery will take time, particularly for the hardest hit communities, Florida’s seaports will continue doing their part to ensure vital supplies and fuel are available.