Pandemic hits Port Canaveral revenue
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.