Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JaxPort Sets Record for Cargo Moved

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JaxPort Sets Record for Cargo Moved

Article excerpt

Byline: David Bauerlein

Aided by a rising economic tide, the Jacksonville Port Authority posted record numbers for shipping automobiles and cargo containers during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

The port authority's terminals broke through the 1 million mark for cargo container units, posting a seven percent annual increase in shipments of the metal boxes that contain a multitude of consumer goods. JaxPort notched a nine percent gain in automobile shipments, finishing the year with 693,241 vehicles.

The growth in automobile shipments is squeezing the capacity at port authority terminals.

"We're challenged with space and we're trying to work through that," JaxPort CEO Eric Green said at the port authority's Monday board meeting.

The Georgia Ports Authority, whose Brunswick port competes fiercely with Jacksonville for automobiles, has expanded its capacity to 800,000 vehicles per year, JaxPort Executive Vice President Roy Schleicher noted.

He said plans to provide vehicle storage at the Dames Point terminal west of the Dames Point bridge will boost JaxPort's overall capacity to 900,000 vehicles per year.

"So we're not going to let anybody one-up us," Schleicher said.

On the cargo container side of the operation, some of JaxPort's gain resulted from Crowley Maritime shifting its Jacksonville-based shipping from privately owned land over to JaxPort's Talleyrand Terminal near downtown. Crowley is a leading shipper to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

Asian-based cargo grew to almost 400,000 container units, a 19 percent increase.

"It continues to be our strongest trade lane," Chief Financial Officer Michael Poole said.

To accommodate the large ships used in Asian trade, JaxPort is pushing to deepen the St. Johns River for 11 miles up to the Blount Island Terminal just east of the Dames Point bridge. …

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