September 28, 2023
Coming clean: Crowley Maritime launches an LNG-powered ship
The El Coqui, named after a frog native to Puerto Rico, has space for up to 2,400 standard 20-foot container units and can go up to 22 knots, cutting Crowley's travel time to San Juan from six days to less than three. The ship, which also can carry up to 400 vehicles, is powered by liquefied natural gas.

Northeast Florida Roundup

Coming clean: Crowley Maritime launches an LNG-powered ship

Amy Martinez | 9/27/2018

In July, Crowley Maritime’s El Coqui made its maiden voyage from Jacksonville to San Juan, Puerto Rico -- the first time an American-flagged ship designed to transport vehicles operated on liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Jacksonville-based Crowley has turned to LNG, which is cleaner than diesel fuel, to help meet stricter global limits on ship emissions as far out as 2050, says John Hourihan, senior vice president and general manager for Crowley Puerto Rico Services. The company estimates the ship’s use of LNG will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 35% per container moved.

“LNG by its nature satisfies all current and future regulatory changes,” Hourihan says. “In one fell swoop, you’re that far ahead of the game in terms of compliance.” Eventually, the El Coqui and its sister ship, Taino, will replace five diesel-powered, tug-barge combination vessels. The Taino, which is being built by VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Miss., also will run on LNG between Jacksonville and San Juan.

In all, Crowley is spending more than $550 million to upgrade its Puerto Rico shipping service, including major improvements to its San Juan terminal. Meanwhile, Crowley also has partnered with Eagle LNG to create a refueling station at JaxPort for the LNGpowered ships.

Business Briefs for Northeast Florida


  • St. Vincent’s Health Care will add 30 patient rooms in a $23-million expansion of its 106-bed hospital, which underwent a $33.1-million expansion in 2016. The hospital has doubled in size since it opened five years ago.


  • The University of Florida received a record $837.6 million in research funding in fiscal 2018, up nearly 16% over its previous record set in 2016.


  • The city council approved an $82-million incentives package for a mixed-use development called The District. Jacksonville developer Peter Rummell plans to build 950 residential units, 200,000 square feet of office space and 120,000 square feet of retail space.
  • Memorial Hospital was designated a level II trauma center after upgrading its emergency room. The city approved plans for a welcome center at Jacksonville University. Haskell Co. expects to finish the building early next year.
  • Jacksonville-based medical software firm Forcura moved to larger office space.
  • Ash Properties plans to renovate the BB&T Tower after purchasing the building for $24.47 million.
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Jacksonville-based Fanatics Retail Group, alleging the company subjected an employee to racial slurs and unfair treatment from managers. Fanatics denied wrongdoing and pledged to fight the suit.
  • SharedLabs, an IT firm, will lease more than 6,000 square feet of office space downtown and create 107 jobs that pay an average annual wage of $53,298 by the end of 2021. In return, SharedLabs will receive more than $528,000 in city and state tax incentives and a parking rate reduction of $24,000.
  • Mortgage processing services company Genpact will move 800 employees to a new center near I-95 and J. Turner Butler Boulevard.
  • Jacksonvillebased distributor Mac Papers acquired Wilkerson Packaging of Atlanta. The deal’s terms were not disclosed.
  • VyStar Credit Union completed its $59-million purchase of the SunTrust tower, where it plans to move 700 employees during the next year.
  • The University of North Florida removed a Papa John’s pizza franchise from its campus, citing a commitment to “creating a culture of respect.” The move followed public uproar over a racial slur that Papa John’s founder John Schnatter used during a conference call.
  • Jacksonville-based non-profit PACE Center for Girls purchased a new, 21,246-sq.-ft. headquarters building in Southside, which will enable it to hire more employees.


  • The Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida selected 11 African-American non-profit leaders to participate in the first Leadership Accelerator, a free, 12-month program that provides coaching, skills development and networking opportunities.


  • Jacksonville-based Pet Paradise Resort and Day Spa, which owns and operates pet centers throughout the South, plans to move its headquarters to San Marco to accommodate more employees.


  • The county commission approved a $129,000 economic incentive package for Rulon International to expand its St. Augustine plant. Rulon, which makes acoustic ceilings and wood wall panels, plans to add 20 employees to its 139-employee workforce.


  • Jacksonville-based Acosta hired former C&S Wholesale Grocers executive Alejandro Rodriguez Bas as president and CEO.


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