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Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) Chief Executive Officer Eric Green outlined the port’s growth opportunities and plans for the future during today’s sold-out State of the Port address. Hosted by the Propeller Club of the United States – Port of Jacksonville, the event provided updates on JAXPORT’s major projects, business growth, and supply chain trends impacting Northeast Florida’s maritime industry to a crowd of nearly 400 transportation and logistics professionals.
“The solution to the nation’s port congestion problem—is right here in this room,” Green told attendees. “As the industry looks to combat everything from truck capacity issues to labor and equipment challenges, protecting the supply chain is a global priority. That’s where Jacksonville’s modern deepwater seaport comes in.”
During his keynote address, Green announced that JAXPORT’s single biggest growth initiative, deepening the Jacksonville shipping channel to 47 feet, is on track to be completed through JAXPORT’s Blount Island Marine Terminal as early as May 2022. The project includes the construction of a turning basin to allow larger ships to turn at Blount Island berths.
In coordination with deepening, more than $100 million in berth enhancements will be complete this summer to enable the SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal at Blount Island to simultaneously accommodate two post-Panamax ships. By the end of 2022, Blount Island terminal operator SSA Atlantic will welcome three new eco-friendly container cranes and complete the first 20 acres of a modernization project to enable the facility to accommodate more containers.
At the Dames Point Marine Terminal, Ceres Terminals has committed $15 million in private investment in cargo handling equipment and systems. Investments continue at the Talleyrand Marine Terminal, where the port is working on expanding its footprint and capabilities.
“Under Eric’s leadership as CEO, JAXPORT has attracted more than a billion dollars in investment over the last five years, including multiple public-private partnerships,” said JAXPORT Board Chair Wendy Hamilton. “These investments provide a modern deepwater seaport that will continue to provide supply chain solutions for the nation and bring new jobs and business opportunity to our community.”
“In our business, we deal through partnerships, and JAXPORT for us has been an amazing partnership,” said Southeast Toyota Distributors Group Vice President Casey Gunnell. “They are a business-forward organization that’s looking to not only support us but help us grow in this community.”
To build on the port’s position as one of the nation’s top vehicle-handling ports, JAXPORT is expanding a primary Ro/Ro (rolling cargo) berth at Blount Island to dock two vessels from a single berth. The $36 million project will take about 24 months to complete.
In lockstep with growth strategies outlined in its strategic master plan, JAXPORT is also exploring options to build its breakbulk capacity. “Some ports have shifted away from breakbulk; we are embracing it,” Green said.
Mary Baer, anchor of Jacksonville television station WJXT-TV, moderated a “Why Jacksonville” panel discussion featuring JAXUSA Partnership President Aundra Wallace and leaders from global companies who have grown their businesses in and around JAXPORT.
Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visited JAXPORT to announce that Singapore-based ocean carrier SeaLead has selected Jacksonville as a port of call on its first-ever US East Coast service. Jacksonville is the last port of call on the rotation connecting Jacksonville to three ports in China and one in South Korea. This new service is an expansion of SeaLead’s U.S. West Coast operations and showcases the advantages JAXPORT’s uncongested berths and efficiency offers worldwide ocean carriers.
In fiscal year 2021, a record-setting 1.4 million containers moved through JAXPORT, maintaining its position as Florida’s largest container port and one of the top 10 container ports in the nation. JAXPORT is also one of the nation’s top vehicle-handling ports, moving more than 616,000 vehicles last year.
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