Economic Backbone: Transportation
Growth initiatives allow JaxPort to help relieve supply chain issues
Though supply chain issues have plagued the transportation and logistics industry in the last year, Northeast Florida has kept freight moving smoothly from port to consumer, says Robert Peek, director and general manager of business development at JaxPort.
Uncongested berths and access to more than 100 trucking companies have allowed the port to receive ships that could not unload their cargo in other ports. Most notably, in the fall of 2021, Hapag-Loyd, one of the 10 largest shipping lines in the world, rerouted its European container service from the Port of Savannah to JaxPort for three months.
“A considerable amount of money has been invested over the last few years to position JaxPort to accommodate new business, but beyond our normal growth, we see ourselves as part of the solution to the national supply chain crisis.”
- Biggest Growth Initiative: Since 2018, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has led a project to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel from its current depth of 40 feet to 47 feet. The $484-million project will be completed in June, which will open the port to post-Panamax container ships coming from Asia.
- Private Investment: Though local, state and federal funding is being used to prepare the port for growth, private companies are also investing in JaxPort’s future.
SSA Atlantic, the company that operates SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal at Blount Island, has undertaken a $72-million reconstruction project that includes two container berths. The berths will be equipped to handle 10 state-of-the-art, electric-powered, 100-guage container cranes.
In February, Ceres Terminals signed a 20-year lease with JaxPort for the 158-container Dames Point Marine Terminal. Along with the lease deal, Ceres committed to investing $15 million in terminal upgrades.
- Paying Off: This month, Singapore-based global shipping line Sea Lead Shipping will bring the first U.S. East Coast container service to JaxPort. With container ship arrivals planned for every two weeks, the carrier will connect Jacksonville to four locations in Asia: Nansha, Ningbo and Qingdao in China, and Busan in South Korea.