In the hopes to increase volume and market share, Jaxport has finalized a plan, and received partial funding, to deepen the Jacksonville harbor from 40 to 47 feet to attract larger ships that sit lower in the water. Per the estimates provided by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, work on this project will cost approximately $458 million to deepen 11 miles off the shipping channel and will last until 2025. The 11-mile stretch will be done in three segments from the ocean to the Blount Island terminal.
The Port of Savannah is the only other 47-foot port in the Southeastern region, and most of the ports in this region are preparing for major growth in the upcoming years. All things remaining the same, Jacksonville will have the third deepest port in Florida after the Port of Everglades and Port of Miami once the project is complete.
Although Jaxport is the No. 1 port for U.S. trade with Puerto Rico and the No. 2 port in the country for the number of automobiles moved, neither business sector is really primed for growth. Instead, the dredging will allow for Jaxport to accommodate larger Asian container ships; a sector that accounts for 39% of Jaxport’s business and saw a 19% increase just last year.
In terms of Longshore and maritime job opportunity in the Jacksonville area, an increase in the number of ships and amount of cargo will likely mean an increase in available jobs in the Longshore industry, as well as other transportation and logistics sectors.
To read the full article from the Jacksonville Business Journal, click here