Pandemic caused an estimated loss of 169,000 Florida jobs and $23 billion in economic activity
According to a new analysis by internationally recognized maritime research company Martin Associates, decreased liquid bulk, dry bulk, containerized cargo and nearly five million fewer cruise passengers have created significant financial and economic havoc for Florida's seaports in 2020.
Based on these impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 169,000 Florida jobs and almost $23 billion in economic activity in the state is estimated to be lost. Job losses include those directly supporting cruise and cargo activity at Florida ports, as well as those lost as a result of the disruption to the supply chain and the maritime transportation system.
This week, the Florida Ports Council sent a letter to members of Congress urging relief for the maritime sector based on the new economic impact analysis.
Doug Wheeler, President and CEO of the Florida Ports Council, noted in the letter that no funding has been provided to date in COVID-19 relief packages to assist the maritime industry. Funding is needed for emergency response, cleaning, staffing, workforce retention, paid leave, procurement of protective health equipment, debt service payments, and lost revenue.
"Whether moving over a hundred million tons of cargo annually or millions of cruise passengers, Florida's seaports generate and support a vast array of commerce and are the international gateways for goods shipped in and out of the state," Wheeler said.
"We urge Congress to pass legislation to provide the maritime sector the same relief that has been offered to other industries during COVID-19, and to close the gap in current federal emergency assistance that has left critical links in the maritime supply chain isolated, impacting Florida jobs and the state-wide economy."