An alliance of shipping businesses is protesting against world famous footballer David Beckham’s plans for a 25,000-seater soccer stadium to be built at PortMiami in Florida.
The Miami Seaport Alliance says that while it does support the idea of a stadium in Miami, it believes siting it at the port would pose risks to jobs, cruise and cargo operations and the port’s future, and other sites should be considered instead.
PortMiami is one of four sites under consideration for the 36-acre development which could cost around $200 million and would include shops, hotels and offices.
The Miami Seaport Alliance comprises concerned citizens and PortMiami stakeholders including stevedores, longshore workers, cruise lines and cargo carriers.
In an open letter to the community, John Fox, President of the Miami Seaport Alliance, said: “We support a soccer franchise in Miami wholeheartedly and there are several suitable sites that would benefit tremendously from a stadium. However, PortMiami is not one of them.
“PortMiami is Miami-Dade County’s second largest economic engine after tourism contributing $27 billion annually to local economy and supporting more than 207,000 jobs in South Florida. Even the hint of a disruptive, non-port operation – such as a stadium – could put thousands of jobs at risk. We cannot jeopardise well-paying jobs like crane operators, longshore workers and mechanics for low-paying stadium jobs such as concession sales.
He said too much costly preparation in readiness for the arrival of superships with the Panama Canal extension, had already taken place to be jeopardised by a soccer stadium: “This thoughtful planning anticipated the doubling of cargo in ten years and the expansion of cruise lines.”
However, the Beckham group says the port is one of a number of sites being considered for the development and even if it does go ahead there, will not affect port operations.