Port Canaveral To Receive COVID-19 Federal Emergency Relief Funding from State of Florida
By Space Coast Daily // March 17, 2021
Since March 2020, Port Canaveral has suffered a 79 percent loss of operating revenues
ABOVE VIDEO: Gov. Ron DeSantis holds press conference on Tuesday.
Throughout the year-long pandemic, Port Canaveral has been continuously open and conducting operations
BREVARD COUNTY • PORT CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has recommended Florida’s seaports, including Port Canaveral, be provided a portion of the state’s COVID-19 federal relief funds to help them recover from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson and Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Chris Sprowls, DeSantis recommended nearly $260 million be provided to seaports from federal funds the state is expected to receive from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 signed into law recently.
Throughout the year-long pandemic, Port Canaveral has been continuously open and conducting operations every day keeping fuel, food and critical supplies moving throughout the state.
Until now, Port Canaveral, unlike other transportation entities in Florida, has had no access to or been eligible to receive COVID relief funds to help manage the pandemic’s impact on Port operations.
The loss of cruise operations at Port Canaveral due to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s shut down orders for cruise lines has had a profound financial impact on the port and the local and extended tourism community.
“Port Canaveral is one of many seaports in Florida and around the country trying to manage the significant economic impact since cruise passenger travel has been shut down since last March,” said Port Canaveral CEO Capt. John Murray.
Since March 2020, Port Canaveral’s 79 percent loss of operating revenues has led to a 43 percent reduction in its workforce, $10 million year-over-year reduction in operating expenses, and deferred more than $119 million in capital projects for two to five years.
Without cruise operations at the Port, projected negative economic implications for the entire Central Florida region and the State of Florida overall are profound.
“We are facing significant and increasing financial challenges to sustain our port operations, support our ongoing business lines, and maintain a level of readiness for when and how the cruise industry may begin sailing again from Port Canaveral,” said Murray.
“We thank Governor DeSantis and Florida Dept. of Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault for recognizing and supporting our critical mission as a gateway of commerce.
An economic downturn study recently completed by Philadelphia-based BREA (Business Research and Economic Advisors) revealed over $1.7 billion loss of total expenditures across Florida; 16,000 annualized jobs loss with over $560 million in lost wages; and $46 million loss in state and local tax revenues.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 passed by Congress provided eligibility for U.S. seaports to receive emergency relief funding from the federal allocations provided to states and local governments to address the economic impact of the COVID pandemic.
“We look forward to working with FDOT and our legislators on our financial needs as they work through the Governor’s requests and remain steadfastly committed to reviving the economic prosperity we have delivered for decades to our surrounding community and the State of Florida,” said Murray.
Led by the elected five-member Canaveral Port Authority Board of Commissioners and Murray, Port Canaveral is one of the world’s most dynamic ports.
Forth the past 50 years, Port Canaveral has been a world-class gateway for cruises, cargo, recreation and logistics, as well as a gateway to new frontiers in space, the port has hosted nearly 5 million revenue cruise passengers through its state-of-the-art terminals and 6 million tons of cargo annually – including bulk, break-bulk, project, and containerized.
Port Canaveral is strategically located to service all Florida markets, as well as the Southeastern United States. In addition to world class cruise facilities and diverse cargo operations, Port Canaveral offers more recreational opportunities than all other Florida deep-water seaports combined.
For more information, visit PortCanaveral.com
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