Florida ports are open. While the world continues to deal with supply chain challenges, the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) has experienced record-setting growth while advancing several key strategic initiatives that will further entrench the port as a vital logistics and transportation center for the United States and the world.
In 2021, 1.4 million containers moved through JAXPORT, maintaining its position as Florida’s largest container port and one of the top 15 container ports in the nation. Dozens of ocean carriers call on JAXPORT, offering competitive transit times to 140 ports in more than 70 countries. An economic impact study found that cargo moving through Jacksonville’s port generates 138,000 jobs in Florida and $31.1 billion in annual economic output for the region and state.
JAXPORT is one of the nation’s top vehicle-handling ports, moving more than 616,000 vehicles last year. This position was solidified by the recent announcement of a $210 million long-term lease and relocation agreement with Southeast Toyota Distributors (SET), the world’s largest independent distributor of Toyota vehicles. The public-private partnership includes a nearly $180 million lease with JAXPORT and an additional $16.5 million from SET to modernize the Blount Island Marine Terminal and relocate to the 88-acre property. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will also grant $16.5 million to assist with the terminal’s development. Upgrades include two state-of-the-art processing buildings and associate work areas totaling more than 250,000 square feet, as well as new on-site rail connections and truck loading areas.
JAXPORT is also preparing for the future by making key infrastructure investments. This includes the deepening the shipping channel through the Blount Island terminal from 40 to 47 feet, which is scheduled for completion in May 2022. This provides the opportunity to simultaneously accommodate two post-Panamax ships which allows for more tonnage and fewer instances of congestion plaguing other global ports. Additionally, Ceres Terminals’ recently touted a $60 million investment to operate a second JAXPORT facility at Dames Point Marine Terminal.
Along with the deepening of the channel, the authority continues to secure new routes that expands the port’s global reach. Since February 2021, JAXPORT has launched a new Asian route through Sea-Lead Shipping due to West Coast port congestion and the addition of the MSC Canada Gulf Bridge Service that connected Jacksonville with the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico as well as Newfoundland in Canada. The latter is expected to bring an estimated 30,000 new containers through JAXPORT every year.
In addition to infrastructure developments, JAXPORT is taking advantage of emerging trends, most notably the increased need for rail access given shortages of trucking and building out its breakbulk capacity. JAXPORT offers shippers seamless transportation via 100 trucking firms and 40 daily trains via Class I railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern and regional rail line Florida East Coast Railway.
As Jacksonville at the crossroads of the nation’s rail and highway network along the Eastern seaboard, JAXPORT continues to lead and innovate in logistics and transportation and help businesses thrive to and through the Jacksonville region.