The Florida Ports Council and Governor Ron DeSantis recently explained how the state’s seaports are poised to offer a supply chain alternative and solution to the congestion seen on the West Coast and elsewhere. Every day, more and more ships are anchored off the coast of California, waiting their turn to enter port and unload the products Americans need.
Port Tampa Bay joins the Florida Ports Council in proposing that the most efficient way to move consumer goods across the state, region and beyond must change. Florida is now the third most populous state in the country, with more than 21 million people and welcoming more than 100 million additional visitors each year.
Florida also now has the 15th largest economy in the world. The importers and exporters who support this huge consumer market deserve a Florida First supply chain strategy with extensive direct shipping container services calling Florida ports directly, as opposed to indirect routes through congested out-of-state ports, this which unfortunately continues. to move.
Throughout the pandemic and during the holiday season, demand for goods and imports continues to increase. The Tampa Bay area, combined with the I-4 corridor, is home to nearly half of Florida’s population. With more than 400 distribution centers, the I-4 corridor is fueling demand for everything from retail and e-commerce products, food and beverages to energy products and building and construction materials.
Port Tampa Bay does not see any of the congestion or delays that have created problems for other ports. Our port is ready to welcome new businesses and serve as an alternative and solution to the supply chain. Port Tampa Bay’s container volume has grown nearly 30% over the past year, and our port has easily accommodated this growth by staying one step ahead with our terminal construction program and working in close collaboration with our terminal operator partner Ports America.
Port Tampa Bay is experiencing unprecedented growth in the container business, now our fastest growing industry. This is the result of strategic investments and the attractiveness of new container services. Our proximity to the I-4 corridor, home to the state’s largest concentration of distribution centers, allows for multiple round-trip deliveries per day from Port Tampa Bay, compared to traditional routes via congested ports out of the state. State. It also reduces trucking costs.
Additionally, Port Tampa Bay is well positioned to address other supply chain issues, such as quickly and safely unloading ships upon arrival at port, ensuring same day delivery and avoiding shortages. labor, port congestion and rising fuel costs.
Port Tampa Bay is in talks with container companies to expand their services to serve our growing market. Eight of the world’s largest container lines now offer weekly service from Asia to Port Tampa Bay. The recent addition of new weekly container routes with Mexico and the expansion of services with Latin America have added diversity and options, but we need additional direct container services and we are actively working to attract them. .
Our port is incredibly grateful for the support of the Florida Governor and Department of Transportation who helped Florida seaports secure $ 250 million in stimulus packages to offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Port Tampa Bay received $ 20 million from these funds. Seaports are economic engines that impact the regions they serve and the state as a whole. These funds will impact the more than 85,000 direct and indirect jobs we touch and improve infrastructure and allow us to plan for the continued growth of our container business.
Additionally, Port Tampa Bay has applied for a federal grant under the US Department of Transportation’s Port Infrastructure Development Grants program, which will significantly reduce congestion at berths and berths. improve the supply chain in the region.
Port Tampa Bay looks forward to expanding the way we serve our community, state and region and stands ready to be part of the solution.
Paul Anderson is the CEO of Port Tampa Bay.