Florida Offers Solutions to California Shipping Crisis
Updated: Jan 26
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and local officials are now offering Florida’s ports to alleviate the current port congestion off of the country’s West Coast.
With its access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, Florida has positioned itself as an alternative to backlogs at other ports, with Gov. DeSantis promising financial incentives to attract ships to skip the backlogs and come to Florida.
During a recent press conference, Gov. Ron DeSantis highlighted local ports’ preparedness, lack of congestion, and readiness to take on additional shipping containers.
Transit time from Long Beach/Los Angeles to Florida is estimated at two weeks, which is far shorter than the wait for berthing space and available trucks in the California ports.
Of the state’s 15 ports, 8 of them are capable of handling containers and do on a variety of scales.
In addition, the state’s access to major transit routes is a plus for shippers looking to get goods through densely populated areas as quick as possible. For example, Florida’s I-4 corridor in Tampa Bay is home to more than 400 distribution centers.
Additionally, port leaders are offering other incentives to shippers who bring their cargo and business.
However, some experts aren’t convinced it’s enough.
“To truly relieve the pressure is probably unrealistic,” said Tom Smythe, a finance professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. Smythe believes rerouting to Florida will tack on unnecessary time and costs for shippers. "It adds about two weeks’ time to traverse the Panama Canal,” said Smythe. “There are costs to doing that, and businesses are going to have to evaluate whether or not the benefits of getting things into the U.S. sooner.”
Despite the longer transit time, other experts argue that Florida positioned to offer a strong long-term solution to the supply chain disruptions impacting the arrival of goods throughout the country.
While at least two East Coast ships have rerouted to Florida ports, the state has seen no traffic from the Pacific. Experts believe that’s unlikely to change.