Florida Ports Ask Congress For Help
Florida’s ports are asking for help from the federal government for heavy losses related to the cornavirus pandemic.
Since March, cargo traffic at Florida’s ports has slowed down and cruise ships have sat empty. The Florida Ports Council estimates 169,000 jobs were lost due to the pandemic, and the total economic impact is $23 billion. That includes people supporting cruise and cargo activity and those connected to maritime transportation.
“The seaports have previously not been included in any of the what seem like now several relief packages that have come from Congress or out of (Washington) D.C.,” said Ports Council CEO Doug Wheeler.
Wheeler said sea terminals have been left out of previous coronavirus relief packages, and that needs to change.
"We’re asking from a nationwide standpoint for about $3.5 billion and we're looking at about $1.5 billion of that being directly for seaports themselves nationally," he said. "With the additional $2 billion being used for just general maritime sector businesses.”
The assistance would help support the more than a dozen ports in Florida, include ones in Tampa and Manatee County.
The House passed a rescue package for ports in July, but the Senate hasn’t taken up the bill. In a letter to Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York), the Ports Council urges the Senate to take action.