The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project is anticipated to be complete in May 2022, three years ahead of its original schedule.
JAXPORT’s single biggest growth initiative is the federal project to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel from its current depth of 40 feet (12.2 meters) to a depth of 47 feet (14.3 meters). The $484 million project is fully funded through JAXPORT’s Blount Island Marine Terminal and includes construction of a vessel turning basin to allow larger ships to turn at Blount Island berths.
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 will position JAXPORT as the first U.S. East Coast port of call for fully loaded New Panamax class vessels.
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. The project is three years ahead of its original schedule with deepening through Blount Island anticipated to be complete before the end of 2022.
The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening project is divided into four segments, contracts A-D, which make up the full length of the 13-mile federally authorized project. The current funding model covers 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 in summer 2022
Contract D: Authorized and under review
The deepening project includes construction of a new turning basin adjacent to the Blount Island Marine Terminal that will allow larger vessels to turn at Blount Island berths. The turning basin will be slightly larger than the existing 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.
HARBOR DEEPENING FACTS
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 is working 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.
When did harbor deepening start and when will it be completed? The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and dredging contractor Dutra began construction of the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project in February 2018. The project is anticipated to be complete in summer 2022 and will take the depth of the federal channel from its current depth of 40 feet to a depth of 47 feet.
What part of the St. Johns River will be deepened? Congress authorized a 13-mile deepening project, which JAXPORT has always supported. The U.S. Army Corps divided the project into four sections beginning near the mouth of the river. Currently, JAXPORT is focused on funding the first three segments to Blount Island in order to start receiving increased cargo aboard today’s larger ships as soon as possible.
Will the deepening include the Dames Point Marine Terminal? The fully authorized Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project includes the Dames Point Marine Terminal.
Will there be any new or expanded turning basins, and will the channel still accommodate 2-way traffic throughout its length? Yes, new turning basins will be added and there will be full 2-way traffic with further widening at strategic locations. The project consists of deepening the existing 40-foot channel to 47 feet; widening at Mile Point, the Training Wall Reach and St. Johns Bluff Reach plus construction of two new turning basins at Blount Island and Brills Cut.
How much will the project cost and who will pay for it? The estimated cost of the initial three segments is $484 million. Final project cost will depend on contracts awarded for each of the segments. The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project is fully funded through federal, state, city, and JAXPORT investments, plus contributions from port tenant SSA Atlantic.