Before the Coronavirus Pandemic, Florida Ports Excelled With Record-Breaking Cruise Numbers

Last week, the Florida Ports Council released a report showing ports across the Sunshine State were doing very well before the coronavirus pandemic and growth in the number of passengers taking cruises.

Florida’s ports moved almost 112 million tons of cargo valued at $86.6 billion in waterborne trade last year with China, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Mexico being the Sunshine State’s top international trade partners.

Cruises based out of Florida were growing increasingly popular until the pandemic. Last year, 18.3 million passengers took cruises out of Florida ports, an 8.7 percent increase from 2018 and a 30 percent increase since 2010.

Looking ahead, the Florida Ports Council, which administers the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council (FSTED), is planning for more than $3 billion in ports investments over the next five years as they grappled with the pandemic

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the continued importance of state investment in our ports. Investing in strategic port infrastructure keeps our state and local economies healthy and moves commerce safely and efficiently 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Doug Wheeler, the president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council. “Even with the uncertainty ahead, our ports have capital improvement plans that total more than $3 billion over the next five years, providing jobs and huge economic impacts in local communities.”

Florida’s ports add almost 900,000 jobs to the state’s economy with an economic impact of $117.6 billion.


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