Hurricane Idalia Update: Port Tampa Bay re-opens and returns to normal operations

- UPDATE: Aug. 31, 2023 at 5:45 p.m.

Port Tampa Bay has resumed all vessel operations and our port’s shipping channels are officially re-opened. Throughout the storm, Port Tampa Bay coordinated with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as the maritime community, to respond to the impacts of Hurricane Idalia. We want to express our sincere appreciation to those who helped our port prepare and recover from the impact of the storm. The port’s Operations, Security, Facilities staff, maritime community, the U.S. Coast Guard, and our local law enforcement and emergency response agencies were critical to our ability to minimize the effects of the storm and help our port to return to operations as soon as safely possible.

During the storm, the port’s landside operations remained open to ensure the smooth and steady delivery of fuel to residents and visitors of the state. Port Tampa Bay supplies nearly half of Florida’s gas, fuel, and petroleum supply and we play a critical role in Hurricane preparation and recovery.  

In coordination with the Port Heavy Weather Advisory Group, and following detailed assessments of the port, waterways, and channels, the U.S. Coast Guard has reopened the port and set the port condition to normal. Port staff fully assessed the docks, wharfs, and terminals for safety. Commercial vessel traffic is again being queued for a return to full operations at the port, meaning we are open for business. Some of the first vessels to return will be fuel tankers and two cruise ships. 

“Few people understand the full impact a seaport has on their daily lives until a crisis hits. We are proud to help our community and region get back on its feet following Hurricane Idalia and welcome back the fuel and cargo ships that are the lifeblood of our local economy. Port Tampa Bay provides a more than $17 billion economic impact and touches some 85,000 jobs in our community. Additionally, our port serves as a major energy gateway, providing nearly half of Florida with its fuel supply. On behalf of the entire maritime community, we want to express our heartfelt condolences to our fellow Floridians who have been impacted by Hurricane Idalia,” said Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay President and CEO.

As cargo operations return to normal, our cruise partners Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International did experience a delay in their service. The Carnival Paradise will return to Port Tampa Bay Cruise Terminal 3 on Friday, Sept. 1 and the Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas will return to Port Tampa Bay Cruise Terminal 2 on Friday, Sept. 1 as well. We look forward to welcoming the ship and its passengers before they both set sail on their next voyage.