Baker • Clay • Duval • Flagler • Nassau • Putnam • St. Johns
Florida’s Northeast is on a roll. Long touted as home to three Fortune 500 companies, its signature city Jacksonville added a fourth in 2022 when Landstar System joined the pack at No. 491, only to be swiftly followed by Dun & Bradstreet Holdings, which moved its headquarters here and cracked the Fortune 1000 for the first time at No. 987. Boasting 875 square miles, Jacksonville is the largest city by area in the continental U.S. and one of only a handful where city and county governments function as one. Adding to its appeal: a prime East Coast location affording easy access to multiple markets by land, sea and air.
Logistics & Distribution
It’s no secret that Florida’s Northeast region excels in many industry sectors, but if you had to pick just one to highlight, a safe bet would be logistics and distribution. The proof is in how JaxPort has weathered a world-wide pandemic that almost no one saw coming or could easily prepare for. Prior to even ever hearing the word “COVID,” JaxPort had embarked on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ $484-million project to deepen its shipping channel to 47 feet in order to accommodate the growing numbers of large post-Panamax vessels from global carriers. The project was proceeding apace when along came COVID, putting a huge damper on transportation and the logistics industry worldwide.
Not surprisingly, many ports around the country were caught off guard and, as a result, experienced unprecedented congestion, long waits to load and unload goods and too few trucks to carry the freight inland. JaxPort wasn’t one of them. In the midst of all the COVID chaos, JaxPort continued to hum with open berths, plenty of cranes and trucks ready to haul, while the harbor deepening project continued apace, until in May 2022 — three years ahead of schedule — JaxPort announced its completion and began welcoming the larger post-Panamax vessels.
Meanwhile, on land:
• American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier (ARC) has relocated its headquarters from Parsippany, N.J., to Ponte Vedra Beach. ARC and its affiliates own and manage the largest U.S. flag roll-on, roll-off, such as cars, trucks, trailers and aircraft as well as other types of cargo.
• Shipping company Veho is opening a $1.1-million last-mile delivery station at Southbound Distribution Center in Jacksonville.
KEY PLAYERS: Amazon, Seattle, Wa.; Crowley Marine, Jacksonville; CSX Corporation, Jacksonville
Aviation/Aerospace & Defense
Aviation behemoth Boeing, in partnership with the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, has begun constructing the industry’s first ever “digitally enabled” maintenance, repair and overhaul facility for military aircraft at Cecil Airport. The 370,000-sq.-ft. project, including 270,000 square feet of hangar space and another 100,000 square feet of office and support shop space, is expected to add 3,800 jobs over 10 years. Estimated completion: 2023.
On the passenger side, Jacksonville International Airport welcomed Breeze Airways in March 2022, providing non-stop service to seven U.S. cities, including Las Vegas, New Orleans, Hartford, Conn., and Richmond, Va., and resumed three weekly direct flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico, via Frontier Airlines. In St. Johns County, Elite Airways has begun non-stop direct service twice weekly from St. Augustine to Newark, N.J., and once weekly to Portland, Me.