Today, the Business Development Board hosted a “State of Palm Beach County’s Distribution and Logistics Industry” to gain insight from government and business leaders about the steps to keep moving forward and ensure supply chain availability.

Palm Beach County is home to 15 major distribution facilities that occupy about 5 million sq. ft. of space, as well as at least 75 corporate headquarters. This topic is one that affects every sector in Palm Beach County, so industry experts Kevin Thibault of Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Manny Almira of Port of Palm Beach, Dale Kloss of Distribution by Air, and Chris Carr of Andersen Material Handling shared current challenges and strategies while navigating COVID-19.

What you need to know:

  • FDOT continues to monitor COVID-19 carefully and hosts bi-weekly calls with airports and seaports
  • “Return to Work” plans are currently being tailored to help each region based on COVID-19 data
  • Project timelines have been accelerated by months due to low volume of people out and traveling
  • The future includes autonomous vehicles, so preparing for that as new vehicles come online is a big initiative for all in the logistics sector
  • The Port of Palm Beach is embarking in modernizing the Port, which once in place, will double the activity for the future
  • The Port of Palm Beach is the #1 port for exporting to the Caribbean, and although things have slowed down due to COVID-19, it sees the Caribbean bouncing back early next year
  • Distribution by Air reported that passenger travel has been low, but government mail has helped international airports keep moving forward
  • Andersen Material Handling reported a down-tick in cruise line activity, but an up-tick in food distribution
  • Workforce is now heavily regulated for contact tracing to protect distribution/logistics employees
  • There has been plenty of PPE available for the industry
  • The new normal is contactless paperwork and safety precautions in warehouses

Larry Hotz of Woodfield Distribution serves as the Chair of the Business Development Board’s Distribution and Logistics Task Force, a group comprised of industry leaders growing the sector. He guided the conversation as moderator, concluding that the industry is resilient, can communicate and cooperate with one another, and is learning new, innovative ways to work.

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