Florida’s Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) has unanimously approved the start of the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening project in, allocating the first phase of port funding to the US Army Corps of Engineers for construction.
The federal project, scheduled to launch in early 2018, would deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel to 47 feet to accommodate more cargo aboard the largest ships.
Along with significant state funding already in place, the USD 484 million, 11-mile project recently received USD 21.5 million in federal funds along with a new start designation making it eligible for further federal dollars.
“The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening project is the single biggest opportunity to grow our port and reach our potential as a major gateway for international trade,” Jim Citrano, JAXPORT Chairman, said.
Once the project is completed, Blount Island will serve the largest Asian container ships requiring the deepest drafts while Dames Point and Talleyrand will be maximized for containers aboard smaller ships as well as JAXPORT’s other lines of business.
On June 24, JAXPORT and the TraPac Container Terminal at Dames Point welcomed the largest containership to ever visit a Florida port, the 10,100-TEU container vessel MOL Bravo. The ship transited the Suez Canal from Asia before reaching the US East Coast.
The port has recorded an average of 21 percent annual growth in Asian container volumes during the past five years and is now served by the largest international shipping alliances operating between Asia and the east coast of the US.