Gov. DeSantis announces international shipping company is moving operations from California to Florida

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JACKSONVILLE, FL – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Friday, March 4, that Sea-Lead Shipping will be moving their shipping operations from the Port of Long Beach in California to JAXPORT (Port of Jacksonville).

Sea-Lead is a Singapore-based, privately-owned global shipping liner.  According to the company’s website, it was founded in 2017, has a presence in 18 countries, and is recognized as a “world expert within the shipping and container industry.”

A press release from Governor DeSantis’ office states that Sea-Lead chose to operate through JAXPORT “in order to bypass heavy congestion at the Port of Long Beach.”

WXJT reports that on its rotation to JAXPORT, Sea-Lead will also make 4 stops in Asia, including China and South Korea, and will also call at ports in Virginia, New Jersey, and South Carolina before its final stop at JAXPORT.  Sea-Lead will be stopping at JAXPORT every two weeks, beginning May 7.

Governor DeSantis said in a statement on Sea-Lead’s move to Florida:

“In October, in the midst of severe supply chain disruptions we made a public effort to get companies to bring more cargo to Florida ports, and we have seen great results.”

He continued:

“Florida’s continued investment in our seaports and transportation infrastructure make this exciting announcement possible. 

“We will continue to make infrastructure investments that keep our supply chain moving and make sure that Florida has a strong workforce ready to support these businesses moving to our state.”

JAXPORT CEO Eric Green announced:

“This new service, and the jobs and economic impact it brings to Jacksonville, is a direct result of the dedication and foresight of our elected officials who have invested in a deeper channel and infrastructure upgrades to enable JAXPORT to serve a wider variety of vessels.”

Green added:

“We are grateful to Sea-Lead for choosing Jacksonville as a port of call on their first US East Coast service and look forward to putting our city’s efficiencies and strong transportation network to work for their customers throughout the Southeast.”

Green also stated:

“We are creating more jobs, economic opportunity, and supply chain security for our region and state.”

In October of 2021, while west coast ports were clogged and backlogged, leading to significant supply chain issues, Governor DeSantis made an announcement that Florida’s seaports were open and prepared to meet shipping demands.

At that time, he stated:

“While other U.S. ports are just now announcing around-the-clock operations, in Florida many of our ports are used to serving Florida farmers, families and businesses with 24 hour operations. 

“As the rest of the nation faces rampant inflation and businesses stare down unprecedented supply chain problems, our message is this: Florida is here, we have capacity, we have incentive packages to help businesses who want to move here and we are going to make sure Americans get their Christmas Gifts this season.”

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At the same time as the Governor’s announcement in October, JAXPORT issued a statement offering to incentivize companies who were interested in doing business at that port.

According to the Florida Governor’s office, “several companies” responded to that offer from JAXPORT, “many specifically citing Governor DeSantis’ announcement as their reason for reaching out.”  Sea-Lead is so far the only company specifically identified by DeSantis’ office as making concrete plans to call at JAXPORT.

The Florida Governor’s office also states that Florida has invested “nearly $1 billion into its seaports” since 2019.  

The office adds:

“The state has also prioritized infrastructure investments in roadways to ensure capability of handling freight movements.”

Florida also boasts significant expansion in cargo operations across several seaports.

The Governor’s office notes:

  • “Port Miami recorded its busiest cargo year in its history, up almost 18% over last year with most of the additional cargo attributed to imports coming from Asia which would normally go into California.
  • “Port Tampa container tonnage increased by 14% in the first quarter of 2022, with huge jumps in building material specifically. Steel is up 122% and lumber is up 160%.
  • “Port Everglades saw 11% growth year over year, and they are up more than 25% year to date.
  • “At Port Manatee, the first quarter of 2022 showed a 15% increase in short tons. Wood products which normally go into California have been coming to Port Manatee instead.”

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‘You know who I am, right?’: Florida congressional candidate caught on camera threatening officer’s job

Originally published February 28, 2022

SARASOTA, FL – A candidate in a Florida state congressional race has issued an apology after being caught on tape threatening a police officer’s job and making disparaging remarks about her nationality during a traffic stop.

Martin Hyde, 57, pulled over by Sarasota police officer Julia Beskin on February 14 for speeding when body camera footage captured him telling the officer she would hurt her career by issuing him a ticket.

In the video, you can hear him trying to use his status as a candidate to intimidate the officer.

In the video, the female officer explains to Hyde that he is being pulled over for speeding and texting while driving. He responded:

“You know who I am, right?

“I’ll just call the chief, how about that?”

When the officer walked back to Hyde’s vehicle to issue the citation, he made a racist comment about her nationality as an immigrant from Latvia. Hyde asked:

“Is it your Russian immigrant status that makes you talk to people like this?”

Hyde accused the officer of being rude and asked how long the seven-year police veteran had been on the force. He demanded the officer call her supervisors to the scene.

Hyde told Officer Beskin:

“Go call the chief. Tell him how rude you’ve just been to me. Play him this (bodycam) video. Then call (City Manager) Marlon Brown. Then you call the mayor.”

During the entire encounter, the officer remained professional despite the insults made by Hyde. When she tried to explain the citations being issued to him, he told her he did not want to address her any longer:

“I’m not interested. I’m a law-abiding citizen, and you’re being bloody rude to me.”

The officer continued explaining the citation and then returned to her patrol car to await backup after calling for backup for a driver being extremely uncooperative.”

At one point, Hyde told the officer she was “making career decisions.”

When backup officers arrived, Hyde told one officer:

“We’re going to make sure that she pays the price for being disrespectful.”

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The video went viral on social media and the political hopeful issued a thin apology on local news outlet WFLA blaming his “ratty” mood:

“So, this isn’t a question of Martin Hyde disliking cops, this is a question of Martin Hyde being in ratty mood on a Monday morning and acting in a way that he regrets.

“I am sorry. And I would like to think that I will learn from it. I would like to think other people might learn something from it too.”

Reportedly, he also apologized to Officer Beskin in person for being “belligerent and rude.” He paid the fines for the three citations.

He went further with an apology posted to social media, apologizing to the officer and the community for his actions:

“Just over a week ago I was stopped in Sarasota for speeding. During the stop I was belligerent and rude to the officer who stopped me. Much interest has been shown in local media and many comments made as to my behavior.

I’m not going to justify my poor temper on that day or attempt to mitigate it in any way. There will be some who will say it’s not the first time I’ve acted out and they’d be right. I have faults and one of them is to be overly aggressive on occasion when I’m challenged.

In the political arena that is possibly a good thing but on a personal level it’s not.

“I’ve apologized to the officer in question, and now I’m apologizing to the community as a whole. I’m going to do my utmost to behave better going forward. I’m not running away though as that’s not in my nature.

There is nothing more I can say or will say on this subject other than I’m sorry for any offence caused to anyone.”

Despite the apology blaming his mood, this is not the first time he has used his status to intimidate police in an attempt to gain special favor. The Herald-Tribune reported that Hyde had been involved in several similar traffic incidents:

“In 2013, officers responded to a traffic incident wherein Hyde reportedly told the officer he would contact the city manager or police chief and Hyde ‘advised this officer he would not say that he pays my salary, but he pays a lot of taxes in the city.’”

Hyde, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican, for his District 16 seat, has taken down his campaign’s Facebook page. He also set his official campaign Instagram page to private and removed his LinkedIn account.

Hyde’s campaign website remains operational, however the sections marked “store” or “donate”  and his campaign email address in the “contact” section are giving error messages.
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