20 Japan,

Issue 7 2020 - FBJNA

Florida’s Seaports during COVID-19

By Alexandra Walsh

Just before the worldwide pandemic hit Florida’s economy, Florida’s seaports showed steady trade from 2018 to 2019. Florida’s total waterborne trade for 2019 was valued at $86.6 billion, with top trading partners including China,

the Dominican

Republic, Brazil, and Mexico, according to the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council. But

with the COVID-19

pandemic, seaports in the Sunshine State faced challenges that every port felt worldwide. Today,

FBJNA’s roundup on

how Florida’s biggest ports are doing finds a steady recovery and preparation for better times ahead.


Indicative of things to come, in the CMA CGM NABUCCO slipped into Government Cut the aſternoon of September 14 and headed to its berth at PortMiami. The 8,488 TEUs container ship, part of CMA CGM’s AL6 Amerigo Mediterranean-US East Coast service, moved more than 4,500 TEUs while on port. Some of those shipments included construction materials, household goods, and perishables. “The cargo uptick we’re seeing

from the European region gives us confidence that Miami-Dade County’s economy is recovering,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez at the time. “We’re moving in the right direction.” Local officials concur that

Miami-Dade County’s economy is on the rebound. Port officials point to improving activity at the port. “From the 51 weeks since the

beginning of fiscal year 2020, our numbers had surpassed the same numbers of the previous week, 25 times out of the 50,” reports a PortMiami spokesperson. “Since the first week of 2020, 17 weeks have been over FY19 and 21 weeks had been under 2019.” In mid-September 2019 (week

38), the port moved through an estimated 9,519 TEUs and received three calls each from TA6, one call each from TP17, TP18,

Victory Bridge and Cagema and no calls from AL6 and PEX3. In comparison, in mid-September 2020 (Week 38), the port saw 13,209 TEUs – a 38.76% increase over 2019 – and received two calls each from TA6, one call each from PEX3, TP17, AL6, Victory Bridge and Cagema and no calls from TP18. The spokesperson noted the

TP16 stopped calling on the Port of Miami in September 2019 and the TP18 returned to Miami in September 2019. Of note, PortMiami is one

of only a handful of East Coast seaports with big-ship capabilities facilitated by the of over

completion $1 billion worth of

infrastructure investments. Customers benefit from its strategic

location that links

worldwide markets with U.S. consumers and producers. To date, PortMiami has welcomed more than 350 post-Panamax vessels that would not have been able to call upon the port without the deeper channel and the port’s contingent of super-post- Panamax container cranes.

Port Canaveral

Located directly on the main shipping lines along the East Coast of Florida, cargo business at Port Canaveral has remained steady with some changes in volumes during the pandemic, says Captain John Murray, CEO, Port Canaveral. Between October 1, 2019 and

August 31, 2020, cargo-related revenue at Port Canaveral rose 7.9% over the same period in 2018- 19. The increases are reflected in lumber, granite, rock and wood pulp cargo. “The growth in and aroundCen-

tral Florida continues to drive de- mand for construction materials flowing through Port Canaveral, as well as the many road projects in the region,” explains Captain Mur- ray. “Additionally, we’re anticipat- ing growth in commercial space cargo withexpansion of the space program.” COVID-19 impacted petroleum,

particularly jet and marine fuel moving through the port due to less plane traffic, less vehicle

components,” notes Captain Murray. “Summer 2020 was a busy time for the crane due to a number of liſts resulting from an increasedspace launch cadence.” Looking ahead, Captain

Murray says renovating and rebuilding North


Pier 3 (NCP3) is on the horizon. The $37 million, 2-year project was awarded a $14.1 million U.S. Department of Transportation Port Infrastructure Development Program grant and has a $14 million funding commitment from the State of Florida Department of Transportation.

Port Manatee

Located in the eastern Gulf of Mexico at the entrance to Tampa Bay, Port Manatee has seen a decrease in petroleum products due the decline in gasoline consumption during the pandemic, according to Virginia Zimmermann, CPE, Senior Manager of Communications and

enhancing its berths, as well as doubling the exit lanes of the North Gate and upgrading its accesscontrol system. In addition, the port is

advancing an $8.3 million project to nearly double the size of the dockside container yard. The expansion will add 9.3 acres to the existing 10-acre paved facility. A $1.1 million warehouse

improvement project, including the addition of more truck loading docks, is currently underway and expected to be completed this month. “While Port Manatee has been

business as usual for the most part, we are expecting a decrease of $1.5 million to $2 million in revenue due to COVID-19 impacts,” Zimmermann reports. “However, the port will still finish the year strong.”

Port Everglades

Volumes are down at Port Everglades

primarily due to

traffic and reduced commuting, and cruise operations ceased due to the No Sail Order issued by the CDC. But Captain Murray notes, “The initial reduction in petroleum products volume has stabilized and some categories are seeing a rebound in volume as air traffic returns and more vehicles travel the highways.” Port infrastructure

improvements include the completion of North Cargo Berth 8 (NCB8)

– a 120-foot

extension of the berth is slated for on-time completion in the near future. NCB8 is the port’s new multi-purpose

berth for

heavy cargo, including space components. “The port’s mobile

harbor crane, the Liebherr LHM600, the largest in North America, can liſt all types of cargo, including heavy space


Government Relations, Manatee County Port Authority. “Additionally, there has been

a decrease in some of our dry bulk cargoes, such as phosphate rock, because the mines in Peru were closed due to COVID-19,” notes Zimmermann. “On the other hand, Manatee has seen an increase in containers due to World Direct Shipping’s rapidly growing weekly Mexican service.” Comparing year-to-date

numbers, Port Manatee saw TEUs increase from 52,203 in 2019 to 77,843 in 2020. Bulk tonnage decreased from 8,150,224 tons in 2019 to 7,214,590 tons in 2020. Breakbulk increased from 949,674 tons in 2019 to 1,082,519 tons in 2020.

Zimmermann says G2

Ocean, Del Monte, and World Direct Shipping are calling on Port Manatee with no changes resulting from COVID-19. In April 2020, Port Manatee

opened a new 3.6-acre transfer facility with room for 120 trailers to optimize capabilities for expediting movement of cargo. Zimmermann adds that Port Manatee is currently

COVID-19, acknowledges Ellen Kennedy, Acting Director of Business Development for

Port Everglades. “When

manufacturing shutting down in Latin America, it hurt container volumes.” Located on the southeastern

coast of the Florida peninsula, Port Everglades moved through 726,507 total TEUs FYTD (through June) 2020 compared to 803,776 total TEUs FYTD 2019, a 15% decline year-over-year to date. With bulk and breakbulk,

the port handled 1,152,615 short tons FYTD 2020 compared to 1,214,947 short tons FYTD 2019, representing a 5% decline over the previous year. The port saw 46,245 units

total pure car Carrier Units FYTD 2020 compared to 34,618 units FYTD2019, a 34% increase from 2019. “We have seen strong cargo

growth in automobile units year- over-year, even during COVID-19,” Kennedy points out.


TEUs, tonnage and petroleum are all down due to issues related to COVID-19.” Accordia Shipping, AGRIEX,

APL, CMA-CGM, Crowley, Dockwise/United Yacht Transport, Dole Ocean Cargo Express, Evergreen Line, Hamburg Sud, Hapag-Lloyd, Hoegh Autoliners, Hyde, King Ocean, Maersk, Mailboat, Mediterranean Shipping Company, NYK Line, Seaboard Marine, SEACOR, SeaLand and Zim are the lines that continue to visit the port. Kennedy notes that the only

major shipping line change came right before the pandemic when the port added the Evergreen service that connects the Far East to Port Everglades via transshipment. Port Everglades is undertaking

$1.6 billion in infrastructure improvements expected to be completed in the next five years. These include a $471 million berth expansion, the largest infrastructure project in the port’s history, which will add new cargo berths by lengthening the port’s existing turn-around area from 900 feet to 2,400 feet. Part of this effort includes installing crane rail infrastructure for three super post- Panamax container-handling gantry cranes. A new logistics center recently

opened at the port that contains dry warehouse, refrigerated warehouse and office space as well as cross-docking facilities. A portion of the logistics center will be activated as a Foreign Trade

Zone. Port Everglades and its

petroleum industry partners are also expanding Slip 1 to allow larger tankers to dock and offload more cargo per ship at a faster rate. “The cargo industry is still struggling because

of the

pandemic, but is beginning to rebound,” says Kennedy. “The challenges in the following months will be how the industry transitions to touchless as much as possible. We will be working with all of our partners to make sure all the stakeholders at the port are working together through this tough time, so we can recover at the right time.”

Port Tampa Bay

Apart from petroleum, Port Tampa Bay has not really experienced any other adverse impacts due to Covid-19, according to a port spokesperson who noted the importance of the port’s commodity diversification and multiple lines of business. Port Tampa Bay saw a 28%

increase in container throughput for the first 11 months of FY2020 through to the end of August, reaching 119,979 TEUs. Total cargo handled at port


was essentially flat for the same period, just over 15 million tons, with increases in dry bulk cargo and breakbulk offsetting a decline in liquid bulk. Bulk cargo was 13.8 million tons,

down by 1% due to a temporary drop in liquid bulk, primarily petroleum, caused by the Covid-19 shutdown. The spokesperson noted this business has been steadily recovering ever since the economy reopened. The port’s dry bulk business is up 13% YTD due to increases in commodities such as cement, granite and gypsum reflecting continued growth in the Florida construction market. And the port’s general cargo/

breakbulk business increased by 9% reaching 1.3 million tons for the same period, led by increases in containers, steel and new lumber business that began in March. It reflects the strength of the region’s construction and building sector. The spokesperson pointed out

that many of port’s containerized commodities, such as furniture, appliances, as well as e-commerce goods have seen strong demand throughout the pandemic. Most of this cargo moves through distribution centers located along the Tampa Bay/Orlando I-4 Corridor, which is home

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