Doug Wheeler, President and CEO, Florida Ports Council

Doug Wheeler, President and CEO, Florida Ports Council

Florida seaports continue to work with local, state, and federal partners to ensure multimodal investments are in place to efficiently and cost effectively move containerized goods on-port, and to their final destination. Strategic planning and investments remain the key elements ensuring Florida is prepared to service larger, new-Panamax vessels, as well as smaller vessels that serve the Caribbean.

Global trade tariffs may have an impact on cargo movements in and out of the US, but we expect treaty negotiations will ultimately resolve these issues. Regardless, US seaports must continue to plan for the future all cargo movements, including investments in navigational channels, on-port efficiencies, rail and road access, and warehouse/distribution facilities.

PortMiami already has a 50-foot navigational channel, Jaxport is currently completing its dredge to a 48-foot navigational channel, and Port Everglades has been approved by Congress to dredge its navigational channel to 48 feet. Several Florida seaports have purchased cranes and cargo-moving equipment to handle containers from new-Panamax vessels. With these investments, Florida can handle containers transiting through the Suez or Panama Canal destined for either the East or Gulf coasts of the US.

Regulatory fees and burdens can be prohibitive, but Florida’s overall business and regulatory environment provides benefits and inducements allowing US and international businesses to excel in Florida. Florida seaports work closely with the Florida Legislature and Congress to repeal any undue regulatory statutory burdens, and with local and state regulatory agencies to expedite any permitting requirements for the location or expansion of existing maritime and logistics facilities.

While the state of Florida's seaports is very strong, we will continue to analyze trade trends and invest in port infrastructure.

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