GT USA CEO Peter Richards Issues Clarification On Moderator Statements Made During Forum

By  //  August 16, 2016

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter was sent to Space Coast Daily by Peter Richards, CEO of GT USA LLC in response to our coverage (see video above) of last week’s Port Commissioner Candidate Forum hosted by the East and North Merritt Island Homeowners Association.

A Port Canaveral candidates’ forum hosted by the North Merritt Island Homeowners Association and covered by the Space Coast Daily contained false statements regarding GT USA and our operations at Port Canaveral. I want to set the record straight.

We declared GT USA open for business in June 2015 and worked alongside the Port for the next six months to complete the infrastructure to begin operations at Canaveral Cargo Terminal, Port Canaveral’s only container and multi-purpose cargo terminal.

We received the first ocean carrier service in January of this year.

Our 35-year agreement calls for an investment by GT USA of up to $100 million, dependent on business levels. We have already invested nearly $5 million, not the “few thousand” dollars stated by the forum’s moderator. We also provide nearly a million dollars a year as a significant tenant of the Port. All the equipment provided by GT USA is new, not secondhand as stated by the moderator.

Our 35-year agreement calls for an investment by GT USA of up to $100 million, dependent on business levels. We have already invested nearly $5 million, not the “few thousand” dollars stated by the forum’s moderator. We also provide nearly a million dollars a year as a significant tenant of the Port. All the equipment provided by GT USA is new, not secondhand as stated by the moderator. –Peter Richards, CEO, GT USA LLC 

Operating the terminal and moving cargo in and out of Brevard County, GT USA employs over 30 employees involved in stevedoring, logistics, safety, security and environmental protection, who subsequently work with dozens of third-party workers who provide a multitude of services – not only the “4 employees” as stated by the moderator.

Another misrepresentation in the questioning was that GT USA has a cargo volume commitment of 150,000 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) by year two of our agreement. In actuality, our agreement calls for a minimum cumulative throughput level over a three-year period, which we will be working diligently to achieve.

As a startup container terminal, we are most proud of the partnership we have built with the Port and the community in launching a new era for trade in the region. We have always been very clear that without a direct rail link the Port will remain a regional gateway, rather than a countrywide gateway, and whether this happens, or not, has nothing to do with GT USA.

At the State of the Port address in June 2015, I stated that deciding on whether Port Canaveral gets a rail connection, and how it routes it to the Port if it does, has nothing to do with GT USA – it is up to the Canaveral Port Authority, the Port Commission and the community.

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What I also emphasized is that GT USA is committed to Port Canaveral. If the decision is not to proceed with the rail connection, we will remain committed to the Port.

Obviously the volume of cargo will not be as high, thus the business will be smaller, and our investment will be less, but we will continue to work with all factors to ensure the growth of business benefits the local community, Brevard County and the State of Florida.

We are here at the Port, available for anyone to visit if they have any questions. I would much rather provide residents the true facts than have them listen to misinformed information.

– Peter Richards, CEO, GT USA LLC

Peter Richards, CEO of GT USA, the U.S. division of global port operator Gulftainer, has received the Maritime Person of the Year Award from the Propeller Club of Port Canaveral.

PETER RICHARDS, CEO of GT USA, the U.S. division of global port operator Gulftainer, received the Maritime Person of the Year Award from the Propeller Club of Port Canaveral last May. (Image for Space Coast Daily)

PETER RICHARDS, CEO of GT USA, the U.S. division of global port operator Gulftainer, received the Maritime Person of the Year Award from the Propeller Club of Port Canaveral last May.

The honor from the Propeller Club of Port Canaveral, part of the network of International Propeller Club organizations, recognizes a person’s contributions to the maritime industry and local community. The club nominates the member of year for regional recognition to be chosen by leaders of Propeller Club chapters in the Southeast.

“Peter Richards is the ideal recipient for Maritime Person of the Year, foremost for bringing GT USA into our port community and increasing regional economic opportunities.  We appreciate the time he has spent in supporting our local club,” said John Rice, President of the Propeller Club of Port Canaveral.

With more than 12 years of seagoing experience and 28 years of expertise in the operation and management of port facilities and container terminals, Richards has played a key role in building the global presence of Gulftainer, the largest privately owned, independent port operator in the world. In the past year, Richards has led the company’s expansion into the United States with the opening of GT USA to operate and manage Port Canaveral’s only dedicated container terminal.

“The opening of Canaveral Cargo Terminal to serve new partners in trade is a milestone not just for GT USA, but for all stakeholders at the port,” Richards said. “It is an honor to work with the Brevard County businesses and maritime professionals of the Propeller Club.”

GT USA’s Canaveral Cargo Terminal is able to turn around cargo between Port Canaveral and the Orlando area within one to two hours, the fastest transit time when compared to other container terminals in the state. StreamLines, N.V., part of the Seatrade Group, recently launched its new Blue Stream container service with Canaveral Cargo Terminal as its only U.S. port of call. The service ships refrigerated and dry cargo between Port Canaveral, Europe, the French West Indies and Central America.

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