Florida is dwelling to various seaports which enlace the Florida peninsula: Port Canaveral, Port Everglades, Port of Fernandina, Port of Fort Pierce, Port of Jacksonville (JAXPORT), Port of Key West, Port Manatee, Port of Miami (PortMiami), Port of Palm Seaside, Port of Panama Metropolis, Port of Pensacola, Port of Port St. Joe, Port St. Pete, and Port Tampa Bay. (Florida can be dwelling to Port Citrus, which is at the moment a port in identify solely.)
Florida’s ports are important to the state’s economic system and growth. These ports function the point of interest for the motion of products and folks into and out of the U.S., generate well-paying jobs, help enterprise and recreation, and contribute to state and native tax coffers. However the significance of Florida’s ports, many individuals are unaware of how ports perform and tips on how to do enterprise with them.
Florida’s ports are operated independently of each other. By way of governance, these Florida ports which have been established by the Florida legislature as impartial particular districts are self-governing ports. Different Florida ports are topic to municipal or county oversight.
What Actions Do Ports Oversee?
To facilitate the actions of products and folks, the everyday port in Florida supplies amenities for ocean liners and cruise ships. With the intention to accommodate the ever-increasing sizes of those vessels, ports deepen and widen their channels and develop turning basins. To offset the price of their amenities in addition to their channel and basin work, ports generate revenues from “dockage,” which is the “cost assessed towards a vessel for berthing at a wharf, pier, bulkhead construction, or financial institution or for mooring to a vessel so berthed.” 46 CFR § 525.1(c)(5). Ports additionally generate revenues from “wharfage,” which is the “cost assessed towards the cargo or vessel on all cargo passing or conveyed over, onto, or beneath wharves or between vessels (to or from barge, lighter, or water), when berthed at wharf or when moored in slip adjoining to a wharf.” 46 CFR § 525.1(c)(23). Florida’s ports may additionally derive revenue by the imposition of enterprise allow charges for service-oriented companies (e.g., automobile rental courtesy shuttle providers, and many others.).
Some ports are important landholders. Amongst Florida’s ports, Port Tampa Bay is the biggest landowner with roughly 5,000 acres. Port of Jacksonville owns 1,500 acres, and Port Canaveral has round 1,000 acres of uplands. Via their appreciable actual property holdings, these “landlord ports” generate important rental revenue from leases and parking charges. For instance, roughly 55% of Port Tampa Bay’s working revenues are derived from long-term leases, and roughly 19% of Port Canaveral’s working revenues are derived from parking charges.
What Are International Commerce Zones and How Do They Relate To Ports?
A lot of Florida’s ports are situated in or adjoining to a International Commerce Zone (FTZ). FTZ’s are licensed pursuant to the International-Commerce Zones Act, 19 U.S.C. § 81a-81u. The U.S. Division of Commerce describes an FTZ as “a delegated location in the USA the place firms can use particular procedures that assist encourage U.S. exercise and worth added – in competitors with overseas options – by permitting delayed or lowered responsibility funds on overseas merchandise, in addition to different financial savings.” Examples of how duties are lowered or eradicated in an FTZ embody the next: (1) merchandise isn’t topic to duties whereas in an FTZ, (2) merchandise could also be imported to an FTZ and re-exported responsibility free, (3) faulty merchandise imported to an FTZ could also be rejected or returned free from any duties, and (4) lowered duties are relevant to merchandise assembled or manufactured into completed merchandise in an FTZ. Companies engaged in worldwide commerce use FTZ activated websites situated at or within the neighborhood of Florida ports to attenuate publicity to duties and for his or her proximity to transport and different transportation modes. Ports perceive the significance of FTZs to worldwide commerce, encourage the development of amenities reminiscent of warehouses in FTZs, and promote using FTZ amenities situated on port property.
What to Take into account When Doing Enterprise with Florida Ports
Doing enterprise with a Florida port is tantamount to coping with a governmental entity. Ports have formal processes, require varied inner and exterior approvals, and conduct public hearings. Companies ought to incorporate ample lead time when planning on doing enterprise with ports. To a sure extent, Florida’s ports compete for enterprise, so the price to do enterprise might differ from port to port.
Relying on the character of the enterprise contemplated at a Florida port, the next further issues might apply:
- Leases. Business tenants lease actual property from landlord ports for quite a lot of functions, reminiscent of storage and distribution of bulk merchandise, storage of leisure boats at marinas, and operation of leisure venues reminiscent of bars and eating places. Ports incessantly make the most of the providers of outdoor authorized counsel to arrange long-term leases on account of their monetary significance. Lengthy-term leases could also be in impact for many years, and such leases might have renewal choices. Tenants beneath such leases can endure adversarial penalties reminiscent of financial damages or penalties within the occasion of their breach or early termination. Port approval could also be required earlier than a tenant can mortgage or sublease its leasehold curiosity. Shutts can negotiate long-term leases with Florida’s ports to make sure that tenants’ pursuits are protected.
- Development contracts. Within the occasion a tenant enters right into a floor lease with a Florida port, the tenant might need to assemble enhancements to the property. The phrases of the bottom lease ought to element the contemplated enhancements and set up the port’s approval procedures for sure points of the development. Relying on the character and extent of enhancements by the tenant, the tenant could possibly credit score sure development prices towards the cost of lease beneath the lease. Shutts can signify tenants on development contracts for property leased by ports, negotiating with each ports and contractors.
- Working contracts. Cruise ship operators might need to enter into long-term working contracts with Florida’s ports to make sure the provision of area. Ports might make sure landside and waterside enhancements for his or her cruise ship operators in change for revenues from the passenger wharfage, vessel dockage, and different charges. Shutts can function authorized counsel to cruise ship operators with respect to working contracts with ports.
- Procurement contracts. Florida’s ports additionally enter into procurement contracts for all kinds of products or providers. Procurement contracts vary from the help of present port operations to development tasks for future port growth. Shutts can advise distributors and suppliers on procurement contracts in addition to bids for the availability of products and providers to ports.
- Sale of actual property. On occasion, Florida’s ports develop their actual property holdings. In some cases, ports might need to accumulate property which is contiguous to current port holdings in an effort to develop their fast port operations. At different instances, ports could also be excited by buying actual property which is distant from their current holdings. Shutts can advise property homeowners in reference to the sale of actual property to ports (or in eminent area proceedings within the occasion of a taking of their property).
- Admiralty and maritime regulation. A wide range of vessel-related incidents can happen at Florida’s ports. From property injury claims involving vessels or cargo to non-public damage claims involving employees or cruise line passengers, Shutts has the expertise to deal with authorized issues for maritime firms. Shutts has suggested main cruise strains, ship homeowners, builders, operators and plenty of others, together with the monetary and insurance coverage establishments that serve them.
From its workplaces situated close to all of Florida’s main seaports, the regulation agency of Shutts & Bowen LLP has the experience to advise shoppers on doing enterprise with ports and resolving disputes arising at ports. Florida’s ports function a focus for the motion of cargo and cruise passengers. To that finish, ports supply companies the chance to function at their amenities, lease land, assemble enhancements, cut back or remove duties by the use of FTZ amenities, and bid on port procurement contracts. On occasion, ports develop their actual property holdings. Given the variety of vessels and individuals who cross by ports, incidents involving property injury or private damage additionally happen.