Port Canaveral: Critical Relief from COVID-19 Needed
“Port Canaveral is one of many seaports in Florida and around the country experiencing significant financial challenges as cruise passenger travel has ceased and commercial cargo volumes have not scaled up fast enough to offset the lost operations,” said Port CEO Capt. John Murray.
Today, Port Canaveral joined with 69 port leaders representing a broad coalition of US ports, state port authorities, and port associations to urge Members of Congress to provide emergency relief for America’s ports which have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a series of letters sent today to US House, Senate and Administration leadership, the port directors and CEOs outlined their urgent concerns for the economic crisis US ports are facing and the increasing challenges of maintaining their state of readiness. The port signatories represent a broad cross-section of transportation economic powerhouses operating on the US East Coast and West Coast, along the entire Gulf Coast region, and the U.S Territories of Guam and US Virgin Islands.
Port leaders issued an appeal to federal policymakers that while America’s seaports have been vitally important in supporting the nation’s response to the COVID pandemic keeping fuel, food and critical supplies moving throughout the country, these same ports are crucial to ensuring the United States is able to quickly recover from the current economic crisis.
“Ports are struggling to manage the impact this pandemic is having on our ability to continue our critical mission as gateways of commerce,” Capt. Murray said. “Seaports, like airports, need emergency relief to maintain our state of readiness and to ensure we can sustain our role in the nation’s economic recovery.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the loss of cruise operations at Port Canaveral due to the Centers for Disease Control’s No-Sail Order for cruise lines has had a profound impact on the port and the local and extended tourism community, particularly the many small businesses including, local hotels, restaurants, and transportation companies. The projected negative economic implications for the entire Central Florida region and the State of Florida overall are profound. An economic downturn study recently completed by Philadelphia-based BREA (Business Research and Economic Advisors) revealed in worst-case projections, Port Canaveral will have 79-percent loss of revenue passengers resulting in over $1.7 billion loss of total expenditures across Florida; 16,000 annualized jobs loss with over $560 million in lost wages; and, $46 million loss in state and local tax revenues.
Based on a 2018 port economic impacts study, the COVID-19 pandemic could result in a direct loss of 130,000 jobs at US seaports.