Florida ports are open for business, DeSantis says

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — Amid a global backlog and cargo ship backups on the West Coast, on Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Florida Ports are open for business.

However, don’t expect many changes locally, as Port Canaveral officials said they haven’t received any new shipments, nor do they expect to.

The reason is that sailing from Los Angeles to Port Canaveral through the Panama Canal is more than 5,000 nautical miles and takes more than nine days.

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It just doesn’t make business sense for most shipping companies from Asia to come to Florida, even as the governor is offering incentives to bring them here.

At a press conference in Jacksonville on Tuesday, DeSantis once again announced that Florida’s ports are open for business.

“As many of you know, we are facing major disruptions. Not just in United States but beyond,” DeSantis said.

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Recently, Jacksonville port secured a cargo ship from Europe. However, the governor would like to see many of the ships currently waiting to dock off the California coast come to Florida instead.

“We in Florida have the ability to help alleviate these log jams,” DeSantis added.

While the state has the resources, the problem for Florida is one of simple mathematics built on distance.

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For cargo ships from Asia, it is simply too far and takes too long to sail to Florida, even with the promise of unspecified incentives from the state.

Even still, Florida ports are making their pitch.

“We want the nation to know that ports like Jax port are the solution to the nation’s port congestion problem,” said Jacksonville Port Authority CEO Eric Green.

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At Port Canaveral, where only about 20% of its business is cargo, the port says it is open, although it has not received any additional shipments.

“If you add East Coast, you need more ships, and there’s just not enough ships out there,” said Canaveral Port Authority CEO Capt. John Murray.

Before coming to Port Canaveral, Murray was involved in international cargo.

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While he would welcome additional traffic, the strict timelines and infrastructure around international supply chains mean it’s more efficient to wait along the west coast than sail to the east coast.

“Large volumes coming through South Florida wouldn’t make sense due to the extra cost involved,” Murray added.

Channel 9 asked the governor’s office for additional information about these incentives and if companies that requiring vaccination for the crew would also be eligible for state incentives.

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The governor’s office declined to provide specifics for those questions.

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