Posted on December 7, 2022
It was a day of note for JAXPORT as the money came in to facilitate a long-discussed raising of power lines over the St. Johns River. The initial million dollars arrives in fiscal year 2023, with more than $16 million on the way in 2024, followed by $4 million in 2025 and $1.5 million in 2026.
The public transportation grant is half-funded by Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and half-funded by JAXPORT on a match-funding basis. Once completed, the lines will move from 175 feet above the high tide line to 225 feet.
Raising the lines at Fulton Cut, just east of Blount Island, is part of the task in providing a port for some of the largest cargo vessels on the ocean.
“We committed to funding to raise the power lines, and today is a milestone in that process,” JAXPORT CEO Eric Green said at the Port’s latest Board meeting. “We are tremendously grateful to the state of Florida, Gov. (Ron) DeSantis and FDOT Secretary (Jared) Perdue for supporting the public service grant just approved by the Board.
“We look forward to continuing our discussions with the Mayor’s Office and the City Council as we all work together to maximize the economic opportunity a deeper harbor creates for the citizens of Jacksonville.”
The latest in new business comes via Ellerman City Liners, which will be picking up and dropping off goods in Jacksonville, the first direct route from Europe to Jacksonville in years. The route takes ships from Antwerp in Belgium, to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Tilbury in England, New York City, Wilmington, North Carolina and then to Jacksonville before going back to Belgium.
“This ship will call here every two weeks, to start,” said JAXPORT CCO Robert Peek. “We project, for the first year, new volume of somewhere between 7,500-10,000 (containers) … with potential, certainly, to grow.
“This is our first direct container service with Europe in many years, and in addition to the new volume for us, this could be significant for our work in area economic development offices in helping attract new business to Northeast Florida.”
It’s the direct vessel service, he said, that could open new doors for European business locally.
“Attracting new vessel service like this is a key strategy within our strategic plan,” Peek said.