Posts Tagged “Florida ports”
A new report shows that Florida’s seaports are poised to recover from a loss of $14 billion over last year.
Leading the recovery is the strong growth in cargo volumes that started in the second part of last year and the recent gradual restart of the cruise industry.
The value of trade decreased more than 16 percent in 2020, according to the annual report from the Florida Seaports Transportation and Economic Development Council (FSTED).
“We knew it was going to hit cruise — obviously with that being shut down — but cargo was a little bit of a rude awakening, to see the impact on that,” Michael Rubin, president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council said.
“The good news, again, is that cargo is back up, and it seems to be doing well.”
The report confirms that most of the declines came in the first part of the year due to the uncertainty around COVID-19.
The recovery occurred in the fall, but most of Florida’s ports experienced declines for the year.
Breakbulk cargo experienced an overall year-over-year increase though, growing 8.8 percent to 7.8 million metric tons (MT) last year.
Despite the current challenges to cruise operations in Florida, the report concludes that the fundamentals of the cruise industry remain strong.
They believe the combination of pent-up demand and widespread vaccinations will result in a full, long-term recovery for the industry.
“With $3.3 billion in capital improvements at Florida’s seaports identified over the next five years, we expect our ports to continue playing a leading role in job creation and economic growth,” FSTED Program Administrator Michael Rubin said.
Among the projects slated are rehabilitation and repairs for berths, construction of new cruise and cargo terminals, and channel and harbor deepening efforts.
Florida’s governor also announced that he plans to devote $250 million from the federal stimulus monies to the ports.
The Savannah, Ga., port will be authorized to accept commodities from Peru and Brazil that have undergone cold treatment. Brazil and Peru grapes and Peru blueberries and citrus, including mandarins, tangelos, clementines, tangerines, grapefruit and sour limes, are to be allowed, according to a news release. The cold treatment process prevents the transmission of agricultural pests and last year, the USDA approved a similar program for cold-treated Peru and Uruguay blueberries and grapes into Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the Port of Miami.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based Crowley Maritime Corp. Inc., imports produce and other commodities through the south Florida ports and ports in Jacksonville, Pennsauken, N.J., and Gulfport. The test program should help increase produce movement, something the Savannah port doesn’t handle much of. The program is said to be the next logical step to complement cold treatment conducted at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport. The port is looking to grow their perishables imports because they export a lot of poultry and refrigerated cargo.
Containers that fail cold treatment will be prohibited from entering the port and will not be offloaded from vessels but will be allowed to ship via sea to a northeastern port for retreatment or be returned to the country of origin, according to the release.
While South American fruit destined to customers in the Southeast has traditionally been shipped to northern U.S. ports, the addition of Savannah could reduce truck delivery times and allow fresher offerings for stores and longer shelf life for consumers.
The port plans to work closely with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection to evaluate the application of cold treatment and to monitor its progress, according to the release.
It could mean produce truckers loading more fruit in Florida instead of say, a port like Philadelphia.
Global ocean carrier Hamburg Süd’s delivered the first shipment of imported Peruvian grapes to Port Everglades in Greater Fort Lauderdale under the pilot program on Nov. 29, according to a news release from the port.
“With our state-of-the-art refrigerated cargo containers and our fixed-day of the week liner service between Peru and Port Everglades, we are uniquely positioned to cater to this exciting new business,” Juergen Pump, senior vice president, Hamburg Süd North America, said in the release. “Port Everglades is the first U.S. port of call for our South American West Coast/United States service and we are looking forward to serving the South Florida fresh produce import community,”
Before the pilot program was established, imported South American fruit had to be imported through northern ports such as Philadelphia and then trucked to Southern U.S. market because of concerns over hitchhiker pests, according to the release.
The pilot program, which started Oct. 1, approved a limited number of “cold-treatment” shipments — grapes and blueberries from Peru and Uruguay — to enter the Florida market directly in containers
Numerous shipments of grapes and blueberries from Peru and Uruguay are expected in the next few months, according to the release.
One of the big advantages of the south Florida port is transit time, according to the release. A container traveling from Peru would reach Port Everglades in only 15 days, compared with the 21-day journey to Philadelphia, according to the release.