Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WORLD TRADE; Keep Them Coming

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WORLD TRADE; Keep Them Coming

Article excerpt

The size of Jacksonville on maps has been the same for 40 years. But it's looking larger all the time to businesses outside the country.

Thirty-five percent of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce's current prospects for new companies are outside our shores.

That is about double from about two years ago, said Jerry Mallott, executive director of Cornerstone, the chamber's economic development arm.

The city is becoming a bigger player in the international market place, and that's a blessing.

For instance, German financial institution Deutsche Bank plans to create 1,000 jobs here in making Jacksonville the bank's only center of its kind in the United States.

Italian aircraft maker Alenia North America plans to employ 300 people to manufacture cargo planes at Cecil Field for the U.S. military and commercial interests abroad.

And Japanese office products maker Pilot Pen is relocating its headquarters from Connecticut to Jacksonville.

The companies secured since last year translate into more than 1,600 jobs created by international companies on the First Coast.

Meanwhile, plans are progressing for Japanese shipping giant Mitsui and Korean shipping firm Hanjin to open new terminals here that will eventually triple the Jacksonville port's container traffic.

More importantly, thousands of jobs will result in the years ahead with strong possibilities that spinoff industries will bring more.

The port's growth and the developable land at former military base Cecil Field bodes well for the future vitality of Jacksonville's economy.

They give the city two aces in the hole that few communities can play but many wish they could.

Most communities lack a port, and sites with infrastructure and available land are hard to find.

When Mayor John Peyton first ran for office in 2003, he said he would be the business mayor. …

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