Shipping never stops. But, the Covid-19 pandemic certainly altered how it was done in 2020.
Locally, container revenues at the Port of Jacksonville for October — the most recent number information was available—was 1% below October 2019 figures at $2.86 million. Auto revenues for the same period were $1.35 million, a 2 % decrease. The year was expected to wrap up with volumes continuing to rise but still below the same period in 2019.
“For the first quarter we should be doing better than projected,” Jaxport CEO Eric Green said.
“The state’s ports are catalysts for commerce,” said Florida Ports Council chief executive Doug Wheeler in a November podcast with Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.
Wheeler represents the state’s 15 deep water ports, including the Port of Jacksonville and Port of Fernandina.
“I’m confident that our seaports will play a big role in that recovery,” Wheeler said. “…We’re about $117 billion. Our ports are delivering, pretty much, everything that people, businesses, residents, consumers in our state are using in their everyday lives.”
Wheeler said the diversity within the state’s ports is what allowed many to withstand 2020. Jaxport executives certainly believe that is the case.
“We’re not just all cruise ships,” said Ed Fleming, a longtime maritime executive who has served on the Jacksonville Port Authority since 2014. “We’re bulk cargo. We’re Asian cargo. We’re domestic cargo. We do some military cargo, liquid bulk, dry bulk. So, we don’t have all our eggs in one basket. And, I think, that diversification has shielded us, somewhat, from some of the other ports that are heavy into cruise ships like PortMiami and Port Everglades.”
Fleming said the key heading into 2021 is getting the pandemic under control.
“Covid will still be with us next year, for the most part,” Fleming said. “It will get better and better, gradually, over time. I think 2021 will be better than 2020, but probably not back to normal – in any industry for that matter.”
Source: Jax Biz Journal