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June 15, 2009

AIF applauds key members for their commitment to growing Florida ports   

TALLAHASSEE - The ability of Florida’s deep-water ports to fairly compete with other regional facilities was strengthened today as HB 7141 was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Crist.  For the last two years, Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) and members of its Florida Maritime Council (comprised of companies who do business at Florida’s ports) have pushed for legislation to reduce the costly and duplicitous nature of security credentialing for the state’s 14 deep-water ports. 

“We commend Governor Crist and the Florida Legislature for their support of this legislation, which more closely aligns Florida’s ports with federal security standards,” said Barney T. Bishop III, President & CEO of AIF. “HB 7141 will help reduce costs for employers who utilize our ports and increase Florida’s ability to compete with other states’ mega-ports such as Savannah, Mobile or New Orleans.”

In addition to strengthening Florida ports’ ability to compete, HB 7141 will streamline security costs and requirements while still maintaining the strict security standards already in place. This legislation increases productivity by allowing maritime businesses timely access to the ports and reducing duplicative credentialing costs. AIF and members of the organization’s Florida Maritime Council believe this will also allow maritime employers to use the saved funds to create jobs and expand Florida’s global position as a leading exporter of goods to the Caribbean, Latin America and beyond.

The bill’s prime legislative sponsors, Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Oviedo) and Sen. Dave Aronberg (D-Greenacres), worked closely with AIF and other industry leaders to develop a piece of public policy that balanced the need for port security while allowing maritime business owners to remain competitive.

“The passage of HB 7141 represents the work of FDLE, our port security experts and leading Florida business groups, like Associated Industries of Florida, and reduces over-burdensome and duplicative fees for security credentialing while ensuring that dangerous threats to the security of our public seaports are minimized,” said Rep. Adams. “This bill will result in safer ports, increased government accountability and more efficient port security and government function.”

“Companies and workers doing business within our ports will see a dramatic decrease in bureaucratic red tape and unnecessary fees thanks to this new law,” said Sen. Aronberg. “AIF's members played a critical role in negotiating this streamlined security process.”