Harbor Deepening

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The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project was completed through Blount Island in May 2022, providing a 47 foot channel depth for vessels calling JAXPORT.

The $420 million project deepened the Jacksonville shipping channel from its previous depth of 40 feet (12.2 meters) to a depth of 47 feet (14.3 meters). The project included construction of a vessel turning basin that now allows larger ships to turn around at Blount Island berths.

New Blount Island Turning Basin

A deeper harbor is essential to meet the needs of larger cargo ships transiting the Suez and Panama canals as those vessels deliver cargo to JAXPORT terminals. A 47-foot depth for the federal channel positions JAXPORT as the first U.S. East Coast port of call for fully loaded post-Panamax class vessels.

In coordination with deepening, JAXPORT has also completed $100 million in berth enhancements to enable the SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal at Blount Island to simultaneously accommodate two post-Panamax ships.

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) conducted a comprehensive, years-long economic, engineering, and environmental study of the project, which began construction in Feb. 2018. Deepening through Blount Island was  completed in May 2022, seven months ahead of schedule.

The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening project was divided into four segments, contracts A-D, which make up the full length of the 13-mile federally authorized project. The current funding model covered completion of the project’s first 11 miles (contracts A, B and C).

Contract A: First 3 miles – Complete

Contract B: 5 miles – Complete 

Contract C: Final 3 miles through Blount Island – Complete

Contract D: Authorized and under review

The deepening project included construction of a new turning basin adjacent to the Blount Island Marine Terminal that allows larger vessels to turn at Blount Island berths. The turning basin is slightly larger than the turning basin at the port’s Dames Point Marine Terminal, which routinely turns vessels of 1,100 feet (335.3 meters) in length. 

The Jacksonville deepening project is the first project of its kind in the United States to include funding from a private business. Funding sources include the federal government, the State of Florida, the City of Jacksonville, JAXPORT, and private partner SSA Atlantic. 


  • JAXPORT currently supports more than 138,000 jobs throughout the region and creates $31 billion in economic impact every year.
  • JAXPORT has grown Asian container volumes nearly 100 percent since 2012.
  • Local jobs associated with JAXPORT’s Asian business grew more than 57 percent in a five-year period.
  • These jobs and this business depend on harbor deepening to accommodate more cargo aboard today’s bigger ships.
  • More than 15,000 jobs are created or protected by this project.
  • JAXPORT’s leadership worked diligently to keep this project on time, reducing the scope and ensuring that the returns far outweigh the costs.
  • The best environmental modeling in the world, plus peer review by scores of independent scientists, advocates for the environmental safety of the full project design.

More information about the Harbor Deepening project is available on the USACE website.

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