JAXPORT welcomed the NYK Iris Leader today, marking two important milestones. Jacksonville is the Iris Leader’s first ever port of call in the United States and it is also the first ship to call on JAXPORT after passing through the new, expanded locks of the Panama Canal.
To commemorate the occasion, JAXPORT CEO Brian Taylor presented Captain Shinzo Hata with a plaque on the bridge of the ship while it was docked at Blount Island Marine Terminal.
The Iris Leader, newly built, is 15 feet wider than previous NYK ro/ro ships. The vessel’s extra width required the width of the new Panama Canal locks for safe passage. The extra width also increases the ship’s capacity by 1,500 cars.
Jacksonville is one of the nation’s busiest ports for total vehicle handling. Last year, JAXPORT moved nearly 657,000 vehicles, the largest volume since JAXPORT set an auto volume record in 2007.