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Before The Pandemic, Port Tampa Bay Was Booming

Port of Tampa

Port Tampa Bay issued its annual “state of the port” report this week. It’s a snapshot of how the port was doing before the coronavirus pandemic.

The report covers the period from October 2018 through September 2019. It’s a time when Port Tampa Bay broke records for cruise ship passengers. It also welcomed cargo vessels from Asia for the first time. The port set a record for revenue for the third year in a row.

But since the start of the pandemic, cruise business has ground to a halt and cargo shipments have slowed down.

Recent financial statements show revenue is down more than 8 percent for the ten-month period that ended in July.

In a video message, CEO Paul Anderson said Port Tampa Bay can play a part in the economic recovery.

“Cargo must continue to flow,” he said. “This pandemic has accelerated the need for shippers and carriers, who are redoubling their efforts to find a better, more efficient solution.”

All of Florida’s ports are asking Congress for aid as part of the next pandemic relief bill.

Bradley George was a Morning Edition host and reporter at WUSF until March 2022.
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