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Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has been called a lot of things, especially by the ever-critical state/national media. Things like reckless, irresponsible, a diehard Trump supporter.
But never Santa Claus. This could apparently change.
Appearing at JAXPORT Tuesday, October 19, 2021, DeSantis announced Florida’s ports have the capacity to handle additional cargo ships in meeting holiday demand. “We are going to make sure Americans get their Christmas gifts this season,” he said.
Children, elves and reindeer should rejoice. So should the curmudgeonly scrooges in the media. Because DeSantis would be filling a Santa-like role, indeed.
Florida’s ports are dynamic operations. The state has invested heavily into its port facilities and infrastructure over the years to keep them vibrant. The state does this “to make sure our supply chain is resilient,” said DeSantis. “I’m especially proud of Florida’s seaports. They are crown jewels in our state.”
This is not the case in many states, where ports are plagued by backlogs, inefficiencies, and bureaucracy. A national backlog of cargo deliveries has led to product shortages and empty store shelves. And with less supply, prices rise – as they are doing.
DeSantis said the JAXPORT facility has capabilities to handle more cargo, as do the Everglades, Tampa Bay and Panama City ports. With its unique geographical presence, Florida could easily accept cargo diverted from other locations plagued by supply-chain delays.
JAXPORT is also offering incentives for companies to bring their business operations to Jacksonville. Moves like these could help unclog the stopped-up supply chains, getting food and cars and toys to their final destinations.
While over-burdened ports around the U.S. are shifting to around-the-clock operations, Florida ports have been doing this for years. They have the capability and the demand to operate nonstop, serving our state’s farms and businesses and industries.
Heightened operations are a necessity right now. With the worst supply-chain delays in decades, the country is facing rampant inflation. For instance, gas prices are the highest since 2014; year-over-year increases in food prices are the biggest in 10 years; and the U.S. inflation rate is the highest since the financial crisis of 2008.
In contrast to other states, Florida is prepared, ready and capable. Florida has invested $1 billion into its ports so they can handle as much cargo as possible. Also, the state has improved the infrastructure pertaining to freight movements and logistics.
At the JAXPORT event, Kevin Thibault, the FDOT secretary, praised DeSantis for his “tremendous leadership in continuing to recognize the value our seaports provide in safely moving goods throughout the region.”
With that being said and done, Florida’s seaports can help save the busy holiday season, and of course Christmas. With DeSantis playing a pivotal role, of that guy with the white beard and jolly demeanor. You know his name.
Steve Nicklas is a financial adviser with a regional brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns also regularly appear in several weekly newspapers in North Florida, and on his website at SteveNicklasMarketplace.com. He has published a book, “All About Money,” of his favorite columns from the past 20 years. The book is available on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected].