Florida ports receive millions in funding as part of COVID economic relief

FDOT secretary says funding made possible through American Rescue Plan recommendation

Cruises out of Port Canaveral could return in July

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Florida’s seaports received millions of dollars in funding to go toward infrastructure and reinforcing the ports activities to support the state’s economy.

Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault said in a news conference Thursday morning that the ports were able to receive the money from the American Rescue Plan after Gov. Ron DeSantis allocated $250 million to help the ports in the financial recovery due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Florida seaports create primary, secondary, and even tertiary economic activities throughout the nation,” Thibault said. “Our seaports are especially useful globally because of Florida’s unique position and our convenient location for East-West trade, to our proximity to the Panama Canal, and we are (a) crucial location for the shipping routes along the east coast of the United States.”

Canaveral Port CEO Captain John Murray, JAXPORT CEO Eric Green, Port Everglades Chief and Port Director Jonathan Daniels, and PortMiami Port Director and CEO Juan Kuryla were present during the news conference as each port was awarded funding.

According to Thibault, JAXPORT is receiving more than $13 million, Port Everglades is receiving just over $58 million, PortMiami is receiving nearly $67 million and Port Canaveral is receiving over $72 million.

“It’s been a real financial challenge for Port Canaveral over the last 16 months just to run our operations, support our business lines and maintain a level of readiness for when and how the cruise industry may begin sailing from our port again,” Port Canaveral CEO Capt. John Murray said.

The announcement comes as Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, which departed on a simulated cruise Tuesday, returned to the port Thursday morning. The simulation marked the cruise line’s first passengers at Port Canaveral since the COVID-19 shutdown.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.