Port Canaveral, the US second largest cruise homeport, is to implement austerity measures, due to the impact of COVID-19 on its operations and the shutdown in the cruise industry.
The port will reduce its employees by more than 40% through layoffs, furloughs and attrition.
According to ‘Florida Today’, the port’s director of communications and public affairs said that as of 31st July Port Canaveral has reduced its headcount by 115 people out of a total of 268 employees prior to the onset of COVID-19.
The cuts will come within all areas of port operations. Previously, the port had furloughed employees used the cruise operations.
In the letters sent to US House, Senate and Administration last month, a group of around 70 port leaders issued an appeal to federal policy makers. The letters said that US’ seaports were vitally important in supporting the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping fuel, food and critical supplies moving throughout the country, and these same ports are crucial to ensuring the US is able to quickly recover from the current economic crisis.
They highlighted the severe loss of income the ports were experiencing and highlighted reports estimating that the COVID-19 pandemic could result in a direct loss of 130,000 jobs at US ports.
“Ports are struggling to manage the impact this pandemic is having on our ability to continue our critical mission as gateways of commerce,” said Port Canaveral CEO, Capt John Murray. “Seaports, like airports, need emergency relief to maintain our state of readiness and to ensure we can sustain our role in the nation’s economic recovery.”
Despite having a diversified base of operations including cargo, cruise, recreational and even a spaceport component, Port Canaveral has experienced a steep fall in business.
Prior to the shutdown, the port was expecting nearly f5 mill cruise passengers and was working to expand cruise operations. Major cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, all had cruise ships homeported at Port Canaveral.
The port had also announced that MSC Cruises would be homeporting two cruise ships for the 2020-2021 cruise season.