Drinking a glass of Florida orange juice this morning, I thought about the Governor of Florida’s well publicized letter to “shipping industry professionals,” announcing his job raiding April visit to California and touting Florida’s port system while at the same time taking a few cheap shots at the State of California by comparing Florida to California in a number of areas.  I thought I’d respond in kind about some items which the Governor of Florida failed to mention.

Unlike Florida, California does not allow alligators to play through on its public golf courses.  California is a place where great ideas are born, home to dreamers and innovators represented by companies like HP, Google, Apple and even Disney.  Florida is a place where people go to retire.  I appreciate the Governor’s hesitancy to talk about climate change in a State that is just a few inches above sea level and where the most popular program is anything shown on the Weather Channel.   

While the Governor notes that Florida’s entire port system has averaged approximately $212,500,000 on an annual basis in funding seaport improvements over the past four years, some of California’s ports have matched that investment (and more) on just an individual port basis.  In addition, our marine terminal payments to California’s public ports for seaport investments total over $900 million per year.  And we’ve been able to reduce port related emissions by over 80% in many categories in the process.

While the Governor touted that the ENTIRE Florida port system can handle over 3.1 million TEU’s (a unit of cargo capacity) annually, we have terminals being built right now that will be equal to Florida’s entire statewide container port capacity.  In addition, our ocean carriers’ customers have developed more warehouse and distribution center space within twenty miles of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach than there is in all of Florida.

There is no question that California has its share of problems and needs to seriously address our loss of market share in international trade, but Florida has its own set of challenges too.  The measure of any region, industry or governmental entity is how it responds to these challenges.  It is not a function of one individual, event or occurrence.

And one final item that you can hang your chads on, California’s Governor is more popular in his state than you are in yours.  Welcome to California Governor Scott.