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Speed to market, a streamlined supply chain and end-to-end transportation and logistics solutions are all revolutionizing the way Crowley Maritime Corp. serves its customers through JAXPORT.
The company is positioning Jacksonville as a gateway to the Caribbean and Central America.
Crowley operates two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered combination container/roll-on roll-off (ConRo) ships from Jacksonville to San Juan out of JAXPORT’s Talleyrand Marine Terminal. Taíno, which sailed its maiden voyage from Jacksonville in early January, and its sister ship, El Coquí, are fueled using a state-of-the-art on-dock fueling station at JAXPORT, the first of its kind in the world.
“Our ships are fast enough now that once we get to Puerto Rico, we can use that as a jumping off spot for the rest of the Caribbean,” said Steve Collar, Crowley Senior Vice President and General Manager, Logistics. The LNG-powered vessels make the trip to San Juan in fewer than three days. From San Juan, Crowley offers connections to the rest of the Caribbean. “We can connect the cargo all the way down to Trinidad, the British Virgin Islands, wherever a customer wants to go in the Caribbean. Once we get it to San Juan, we can get it there quickly.”
Taíno and El Coquí each offer weekly fixed-day departures from Jacksonville, giving customers flexibility and reliability. “One ship sails on Tuesday with the cargo arriving on Friday, and the other vessel sails on Friday, with the customer getting their cargo on Monday. It really gives them options at the beginning and end of the week,” Collar said.
Jacksonville’s strategic location is an advantage for shippers moving cargo out of the Southeast U.S. Crowley modernized its new JAXPORT terminal facility by reconstructing the north gate, along with paving and striping the yard. Highly organized container storage and efficient terminal access and egress also help reduce trucker turn times to only 20 minutes, significantly increasing cargo velocity to market.
“You can eliminate a lot of landside transportation costs by shipping out of Jacksonville, rather than trucking to ports to the north or south,” Collar said. The faster sailing times are ideal for a variety of retail customers, including apparel, furniture and home goods, as well as refrigerated cargo.
El Coquí and Taíno are the only ships in the trade equipped with enclosed and ventilated decks to protect cars and large vehicles in transit. Each vessel has capacity for approximately 400 vehicles.
In late 2018, Crowley merged its liner services unit into Crowley Logistics, offering customers true end-to-end supply chain services. In addition to shipping, the company offers land and air transportation, commercial transportation management, supply chain and distribution services, freight forwarding and warehousing, as well as cargo risk and customs compliance. “The biggest benefit is one-stop shop,” Collar said. “We see the cargo all the way from origin to final destination and we’re able to watch it all along the way, giving our customers increased visibility.”
Collar says the opportunities through JAXPORT continue to grow, with added connections throughout Central America. The company’s Northern Zone service carries U.S. exports to Honduras, Guatemala and Cuba with trucking service to Nicaragua and El Salvador. The Southern Zone service handles both imports and exports and offers weekly sailings to Panama and Costa Rica. “We basically cover the entire Crowley footprint through Jacksonville, which is something we have never done before,” Collar said.