By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The nation’s supply chains continue to deliver products to Port of Miami, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

As an international import/export hub, what is shipped or flown in or out of the Port of Miami, drives international, nationwide and local supply chains.

What is being shipped there daily has changed.

Megan Conyers, with the Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association, says, “Customs brokers and freight forwarders are scrambling to bring in hand sanitizers, medical equipment, gowns, and drugs. A lot of people who imported tennis shoes, athletic equipment are now bringing in things for people on the front lines, medical needs.”

Shipping in and out of the port is going smoothly, though it may have slowed a little due to social distancing and precautions.

The same situation applies for cargo flights in and out of Miami International Airport.

Alice Ancona with World Trade Center Miami says, “Trade has changed. Trade is tied to consumer demand. We are all at home. So we are not buying the same things we used to. Going to the store and shopping and things like that.”

So, the shippers are not moving many refrigerators, furniture, clothing, because stores are closed.

What’s coming in is what is in demand and that is why there are sometimes shortages in the supermarkets and slow home deliveries from online retailers.

“Most of the supply chains are prioritizing the essential items: Medicine, food, water, toilet paper. All of the things coming into the country that we need. Consumers need to be a little more patient,” said Conyers.

And how about those imported Chinese medical supplies that normally passed through Miami?

With China shut down, what then? Here is something you probably did not know.

“All of a sudden we see a one-thousand percent increase in trade with Ireland. We see 100 percent increase with the UK and places like hungry witch produce medical devices, pharmaceuticals, products all those things dealing with the pandemic, Ireland makes 50% of the world’s ventilators,” Ancona said.

Eighty percent of the nation’s flowers that are imported from South America come through Miami.

With the shutdown and churches closed, demand is way down. It might be an Easter without a lot of flowers.

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