The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) has welcomed a recommendation from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to spend approximately $258.2 million of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 recovery package on the state’s seaports.
In a statement, JAXPORT CEO Eric Green thanked DeSantis and Kevin Thibault, Florida’s Secretary of Transportation for their “continued support of Florida’s seaports, which are vital economic engines” for the state.
“COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruption to the global economy and supply chain, bringing cruise business to a halt and reducing cargo volumes and revenue for Florida ports,” Green said.
“Economic relief for our ports ensures we can continue to do the important work we do to connect Florida’s businesses to the global economy, create and protect Florida jobs, and do our part to help lead the economic recovery of our state.”
“Florida’s seaports are critically important to the state’s economy. Cargo and cruise activity through Jacksonville’s seaport alone generates nearly 139,300 jobs in Florida and more than $31.1 billion in annual economic impact for the region and state.”
The money for Florida’s port industry was set out in DeSantis’ recommendations for the federal stimulus, which were published released on 16 March.
DeSantis urged the Federal Government to earmark the sum and make “major investments in critical areas such as infrastructure, education and workforce development” to help the state recover from the pandemic’s effects.
Furthermore, he recommended $500 million to be spent on economic development and recovery initiatives, which he said will “maximise Florida’s economic incentive toolbox to get money out the door in support of programmes that create high-paying jobs”.
The pandemic has emphasised the importance of maritime and supply chain investment as logistics processes have become strained as trade volumes continue to fluctuate.
In February 2021, JAXPORT unveiled a new strategic plan to drive cargo growth and encourage private sector investment.