It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news of the untimely death of Mr. John Ballestero this week.
Mr. John Ballestero, of Miami, Florida, was a highly regarded executive throughout the United States and Latin America in the international maritime trade and shipping community, with expertise in all facets of seaport operations and planning, corporate and union contracts, labor negotiations, and new business development. He had more than five decades of diversified leadership and management experience with both private-sector companies and government-run seaport administrators.
He began his career in the 1960s working for Maher Terminals, the largest container terminal at the Port of New York/New Jersey. In the 1970s, Mr. Ballestero moved to Florida to join the growing international maritime community at the Port of Miami. After senior management positions with several private-sector terminal operators, he was recruited by the former director of the Port of Miami to become the port’s Chief of Cargo and Cruise Operations, a post he held for almost a decade. In this position Mr. Ballestero managed daily cargo and cruise operations, attracted new shipping lines and traveled throughout Latin America and the Caribbean as a speaker and seminar instructor in union labor negotiations, seaport development and security measures for the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) and the Organization of American States (OAS). In the 1990s, he returned to the private sector and spent five years as the President of the Terminal Division of Venezuela’s H.L. Boulton Company, for which he oversaw development and growth of terminal operations in the ports of Guanta, La Guaira, Maracaibo and Puerto Cabello.
In 2002, he returned to Miami. Mr. Ballestero served as General Manager and Senior Vice President of POMTOC for 10 years. After retiring from POMTOC, he rejoined the port’s administration. In 2014, Mr. Ballestero was leading the port’s $49 million (US) expansion of its intermodal container railroad transfer yards to accommodate double-stacked rail cars. Mr Ballestro was a 2014 inductee into the “FCBF Hall of Fame”, just one of many accolades.
We have lost a dear friend and a valued colleague, an industry pioneer at its very best, he will truly be missed. Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to his family during this very difficult time.