Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Florida Ports Ask Congress For Help

Port Tampa Bay

Florida’s ports are asking for help from the federal government for heavy losses related to the cornavirus pandemic.

Since March, cargo traffic at Florida’s ports has slowed down and cruise ships have sat empty. The Florida Ports Council estimates169,000 jobs were lost due to the pandemic, and the total economic impact is $23 billion.  That includes people supporting cruise and cargo activity and those connected to maritime transportation.


“The seaports have previously not been included in any of the what seem like now several relief packages that have come from Congress or out of (Washington) D.C.,” said Ports Council CEO Doug Wheeler.  Wheeler said sea terminals have been left out of previous coronavirus relief packages, and that needs to change.   

"We’re asking from a nationwide standpoint for about $3.5 billion and we're looking at about $1.5 billion of that being directly for seaports themselves nationally," he said. "With the additional $2 billion being used for just general maritime sector businesses.” 


The assistance would help support the more than a dozen ports in Florida, include ones in Tampa and Manatee County.


The House passed a rescue packagefor ports in July, but the Senate hasn’t taken up the bill.   In a letter to Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York), the Ports Council urges the Senate to take action. 

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Bradley George comes to WUSF from Atlanta, where he was a reporter, host, and editor at Georgia Public Broadcasting. While in Atlanta, he reported for NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and The Takeaway. His work has been recognized by , the Georgia Associated Press, and the Atlanta Press Club. Prior to his time in Georgia, Bradley worked at public radio stations in Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina.