At a press conference at JaxPort in Jacksonville, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that Sea Lead, a private global shipping company based in Singapore, is moving part of its American operations from Long Beach, California to Jacksonville, citing logjammed ports on the west coast.
DeSantis capitalized on the supply chain logjam taking place in west coast seaports, making a stringent effort over the last 6 months to redirect delayed shipments to Florida’s ports. With the move, Sea-Lead has the capacity to reach nearly 100 million consumers while also facilitating job growth along the east coast of Florida and its ports.
“I just wanted to thank the governor, Jacksonville’s ports, and the whole of Florida for welcoming us. This is an opportunity we’ve taken and we want to grow this into a long-term relationship. It’s a real success because we are at a difficult time on the west coast. We were welcomed by Jacksonville, and they are also supporting us in a lot of ways, which is a real blessing at this time.” said Pramad Raj of Sea Lead. “In the current situation, we are hoping to take this into a long mutually beneficial relationship with the port of Jacksonville and the state of Florida.”
The enhanced service from Sea Lead will mark its first regular service to the east coast of the United States and will be served by four ships with an average capacity of 6,100 tons. With the aim of deploying an every-other-week rotation in the near future, Sea Lead is looking at possible vessel-sharing arrangements throughout Florida to further improve the frequency of the service.
“We are delighted to introduce this new service and new destinations for our customers. Port congestion has been a challenge for everyone recently and this will allow us to service ports that are more efficient for our customers,” said Cho Kit Wei, Sea Lead Managing Director. “We are confident that the market and our partners will respond well to the service, and we look forward to developing strong partnerships on this trade lane.”
DeSantis partially attributed increasing costs to the aforementioned supply chain shortages, looking to mitigate the issue for the state economy by positioning Florida to accept diverted cargo from locations limited by supply chain delays and lost productivity. With major cargo seaports with additional capacity like JAXPORT and Port Everglades along the Atlantic Coast, or Port Tampa Bay and Port Panama City within the Gulf of Mexico, Florida maintains the capacity to bear the brunt of the burden.
“On the supply chain side of things, we’re just one state, but we take pride in our port and we’ve made a lot of investment in our ports. Florida is part of the solution. You have all those ships that will be just sitting off the coasts of California or Savannah, Georgia, or wherever it is, we said we had capacity here in JaxPort and elsewhere in Florida, and that we stand to assist to bring goods to market,” said DeSantis.
Amid mismanagement by localities and city councils, a plethora of companies are leaving California in an exodus to settle in states where they are free to operate their businesses. Florida has maintained its status as a state accepting the most companies, marking several dozen since 2021, with Sea Lead being the latest.
“If you are interested in growing Miami’s reputation as an international tech/startup hub and making Miami the city of the future, we want to hear from you,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. “Let’s work together to enhance innovation and catalyze entrepreneurship.”