Posted on March 14, 2023
Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) Chief Executive Officer Eric Green outlined significant progress toward the port’s 2020-2025 Strategic Master Plan 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 infrastructure projects, business opportunities, and supply chain trends impacting Northeast Florida’s maritime industry to a crowd of nearly 400 transportation and logistics professionals.
JAXPORT’s five-year Strategic Master Plan serves as the port’s roadmap to success, outlining strategic growth across trade lanes and cargo types. Key components of the plan include the addition of new container service with Asia and Europe, as well as building on the port’s role as one of the nation’s top vehicle-handling ports and a global leader in the movement of breakbulk (non-containerized) cargo.
The plan also outlines strategies to maintain efficiencies as cargo volumes grow through the completion of multi-year projects, including the recently completed harbor deepening project and ongoing terminal modernization initiatives that position Jacksonville and the State of Florida for growth in the coming decades.
“The year 2022 was transformational and we continue to build on our momentum,” Green told attendees. “As we look to the future, we will continue the strategic growth that has allowed us to build a business while maintaining our efficiencies, ensuring we maximize the return on the investments that have been made in our port by our federal, state, and local leaders, as well as our private partners.”
Highlights from the past year include securing a series of multi-million-dollar public-private partnerships, leveraging outside investment to build the port of the future:
- The 20-year agreement with Ceres Terminals to lease and modernize the port’s Dames Point Marine Terminal.
- Agreement with Southeast Toyota Distributors to relocate from Talleyrand to Blount Island, protecting 800 jobs
- Addition of new eco-friendly cargo-handling equipment through a $47 million sustainability initiative funded in partnership with SSA Atlantic, Crowley, and a federal BUILD grant.
- Addition of four new container services in the last 18 months, including expanded connections with Asia and the addition of the port’s first direct container service with Europe.
- Long-term agreement with Trailer Bridge which mirrors the duration of its lease with the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA).
- Building on its commitment to the Puerto Rico trade lane, JAXPORT continues to collaborate with PRPA on business development and other initiatives outlined in a memorandum of understanding signed by the ports in 2021.
- To maintain its position as one of the nation’s top vehicle-handling ports, $45 million in upgrades will soon be underway to expand auto berths at Blount Island, including expanding one berth to accommodate two vessels simultaneously instead of one and widening a second berth to accommodate larger auto vessels.
Looking ahead, SSA Atlantic is modernizing its container yard on Blount Island to accommodate up to 500,000 containers annually by 2024, more than doubling its current throughput. Ceres Terminals is also investing $42 million in upgrades at the port’s Dames Point terminal, including investments in cargo-handling equipment and systems.
“One of the keys to our success has always been our diversification, and we will lean into that in the future,” said JAXPORT Chief Commercial Officer Robert Peek. “Following the strategies outlined in our Strategic Plan, we will continue growth across key trade lanes and cargo types while positioning our customers, port, and community for long-term success.”
JAXPORT is one of the nation’s most diversified ports. Over the last year, the port has built on this diversification of business, including:
- Expanding breakbulk capabilities to meet customer demand, including the recent completion of $4 million in upgrades to accommodate breakbulk volume growth at the port’s Talleyrand terminal.
- Cruise service through Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Elation has been sailing at more than 100 percent occupancy (at least two people per room) since cruising resumed last spring. Carnival recently extended its contract for cruise service from Jacksonville through at least 2025.
- As one of the nation’s 17 Strategic Seaports, JAXPORT continues to facilitate the movement of thousands of tons of military cargo each year.
In the fiscal year 2022, JAXPORT moved nearly 1.3 million containers, maintaining its position as Florida’s largest container port and one of the top 10 container ports in the nation. Cargo activity through Jacksonville’s seaport supports 138,000 jobs and $31 billion in annual economic output for the region and state.