JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The state of Florida can help alleviate logjams at ports nationwide, Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news conference at the Jacksonville Port Authority Tuesday.
The governor referenced empty store shelves and cargo ships that cannot dock due to supply chain issues across the country. That has led to an increase in food costs and gas prices, DeSantis said.
But in Florida, he said, leaders have long been committed to reliable, modern and accessible port facilities.
"We've allocated almost a billion dollars to over 70 Florida seaport projects," since he took office, the governor said. "These are approaches that have made us really, really strong."
DeSantis said the state's infrastructure once cargo leaves the port can also help get those backlogged shipments moving.
"With the different operations that we offer, both rail and road, it really, really, really is, I think, a model for the rest of the country," DeSantis said.
Jaxport and other ports throughout the state will begin offering incentive packages to businesses who want to move their cargo through their facilities, DeSantis said.
"This will make a huge difference. If you think about a place like Jaxport, you have 100 million consumers that live within one day's drive of Jaxport," he said. "And I think companies are noticing. They're noticing that Florida could be the solution for some of these logistical problems."
Just last week, a European shipping company announced they were going to reroute vessel service to Jaxport, bringing an estimated 1,000 additional containers a week through Jacksonville, DeSantis said. That marks the first time in several years that a European company has come to Jaxport, according to the governor.
In addition to the state's seaports, $200 million each year has been invested on freight and rail infrastructure, the governor said. The state is also continuing to invest in workforce education, particularly in the logistics and infrastructure fields.
On Monday, the governor announced more than $12 million in funding for infrastructure and job growth projects in other Florida counties.
In Sumter County, $6 million is slated from a Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to help complete a one-and-a-half-mile road expansion that serves a 300-acre industrial park. The road expansion will support the creation of nearly 7,000 jobs in high-demand fields such as manufacturing and construction, the governor's office said in a news release.
In Hernando County, $6.1 million will go to develop an 18-acre site to build additional Pasco Hernando State College and Suncoast Technical Education Center campuses.
The release says the announcement is part of a several-weeks long tour of the state highlighting job growth, workforce training initiatives and infrastructure investments in small and rural communities.
"Infrastructure projects are vital for the growth and development of new business in the State of Florida," DeSantis said. "Through strategic investments, like the ones I have announced over the past several weeks, we can continue the momentum of Florida’s vibrant industrial base.”
For more information on the state's job growth grant program, click here.