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Sealand launches new dedicated US-Caribbean loop    12/06/2019
Sealand next month will begin a new weekly service between Port Everglades and the Dominican Republic and Haiti, giving the southern Florida port a second service to the Caribbean in approximately a year and building on 2 percent import growth in 2018.

Sealand will commence its new “Hispaniola” service from Port Everglades July 7, connecting to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Crowley Maritime in May 2018 launched a service connecting the South Florida port to both Caribbean destinations. While Sealand didn’t disclose the size of the vessels, Crowley’s service uses vessels with a capacity of 1,500 TEU to 2,500 TEU.

There is considerable demand in Florida to trade with Latin America. Out of the top 10 trading partners with Everglades, nine are Caribbean, Central American, or South American countries, a nod to a growing Latino population in Florida. None are Asian countries. Approximately 4.5 million Latinos live in Florida, according to the US Census Bureau, including 1.8 million in Miami Dade County and more than 500,000 in neighboring Broward County, where the port is located.

Although the port handled more than 375,000 laden imports last year, it has only moved 141,000 TEU in 2019 through May, down 14 percent year over year. The new service provides a much needed jolt in the arm as container imports through Everglades from the Caribbean have fallen more than 20 percent compared with the first five months of last year, according to PIERS, a sister product of within IHS Markit. In 2018, Caribbean traffic rose 1.8 percent for the full year. Imports from the Dominican Republic, however, have plunged 32 percent in the first five months of 2019, after a 13 percent year-over-year drop in 2018.

Sealand also provides two northbound strings and one southbound loop connecting Everglades with Colombia and Panama. Crowley provides multiple weekly sailings to Honduras and Guatemala. Through May, imports have increased 7 percent from western South America, which includes Colombia, but dropped 13 percent from Central America, according to PIERS.

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