As CEO Leaves, JaxPort Has Bright Future

Article excerpt

Byline: George Gabel

JaxPort CEO Paul Anderson, through his contacts in Washington and his missionary zeal, played a large part in getting us into position to remedy Mile Point, deepen the St. Johns River channel and build on-dock rail at Dames Point.

We appreciate his contributions to our community, and we are glad he will remain in Florida.

There is a new feeling of cooperation among the ports of Florida to focus on the markets we may be able to serve with appropriate investments.

The state Department of Transportation plan emphasizes the strengths and opportunities provided by each of the 14 ports in Florida.

Jacksonville is designated as a national port as well as a Florida Cargo Hub. It is a gateway for both non-Florida and strategic Florida commodities. The same is true for the Miami/Port of Everglades ports.

We are beginning to view other Florida ports as complementary to our efforts to build trade, not as competitors. The JAX Chamber's and Miami Chamber's recent memorandum of understanding to support each other is a prime example.

The logistics industry in our region has come a long way. In the mid-20th century, a local campaign identified Jacksonville as the "Gateway to Florida." The name is still used by some Jacksonville businesses.

The fact is we were on the right track.

The concept is actually more expansive than anyone thought 50 years ago. We realistically now have the potential to be a "Gateway to America."

With the location of our port as the westernmost port on the Atlantic (due south of Cleveland), within one truck-day's drive or 11 hours of 60 million consumers, interstates connecting us with every part of the country, three major railroads with more movements in and out than any other East Coast city and the headquarters for numerous logistics companies, we have already identified our city as "America's Logistics Center. …