Pan­demic hits Port Canaveral rev­enue

Orlando Sentinel - - Local & State - By Richard Tri­bou

The shut­down of the cruise in­dus­try and other ef­fects tied to the coron­avirus pan­demic hit Port Canaveral hard, and of­fi­cials re­port a pro­jected loss of more than $48.5 mil­lion of op­er­at­ing rev­enue for the 2020 fis­cal year.

Port Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer Michael Poole told port com­mis­sion­ers Wed­nes­day the loss of cruise rev­enue along with the clo­sures of Jetty Park, Ex­plo­ration Tower and a re­duc­tion in cargo be­cause of the spread of COVID-19 all con­trib­uted.

His mid-year re­vi­sions showed the ma­jor­ity of the loss is from the lack of sail­ing from Dis­ney Cruise Line, Car­ni­val Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Nor­we­gian as well as casino boat Vic­tory. The cruise ships re­main un­der a no­sail or­der from the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion that doesn’t ex­pire un­til July 24, but even then, all ma­jor cruise lines have opted to not sail un­til at least Sept. 15 from U.S. ports. Vic­tory has be­gun sail­ing again, though.

The forecast cruise rev­enue for fis­cal 2020 is just over $44 mil­lion now, which is down more than $45 mil­lion from orig­i­nal pro­jec­tions. Cargo rev­enue is around $9.5 mil­lion, a lit­tle more than $420,000 below the orig­i­nal bud­get be­cause of less fuel con­sump­tion, Poole said.

The clo­sures of Jetty Park and Ex­plo­ration Tower low­ered rev­enue pro­jec­tions by nearly $1.5 mil­lion, all con­tribut­ing to an over­all pro­jec­tion of a lit­tle more than $67 mil­lion for op­er­at­ing rev­enue, which is a net de­crease of $48,562,220 from orig­i­nal pro­jec­tions.

To com­bat the lack of rev­enue, re­duced ex­penses in­clud­ing fur­loughs have been re­duced by more than $7 mil­lion for the fis­cal year.

And the port is still fore­cast­ing to re­ceive more than $14 mil­lion in grants from the state and fed­eral gov­ern­ment for items in­clud­ing the new fire boat to sup­port new ships fu­eled by liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas and other projects.

The port also de­ferred cap­i­tal projects to later years to help the bud­get. At this point, the only main project is work on Dis­ney Cruise Line’s new ter­mi­nal, Poole said.

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