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Florida’s JAXPORT handles record container volume in 2021

Jacksonville port offers ‘solution’ to congestion problem

The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) in Florida handled more than 1.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units in its fiscal year 2021, an all-time record for the port and 10% higher from 2020.

JAXPORT’s 2021 fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

“Achieving a container record and strong vehicle volumes while maintaining our efficiencies — all in the middle of a pandemic — speaks to the resiliency and capability of Jacksonville’s maritime community,” said JAXPORT CEO Eric Green in a release. “Our port workers, terminal operators and service providers have shown the world that JAXPORT is a solution to the nation’s port congestion problem.”

JAXPORT also noted that the port’s auto business neared pre-pandemic levels, although the chip shortage subdued that growth in the second half of the fiscal year. JAXPORT moved more than 616,000 vehicles in FY21, which is 13% higher than 2020’s volumes.

Besides containers, JAXPORT also handles breakbulk, dry and liquid bulk, heavy lift, refrigerated cargo, forest product, liquefied natural gas and U.S. military cargo, the port authority said. Eastern railroads CSX (NASDAQ: CSX), Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) and Florida East Coast Railway have access to the port.

JAXPORT noted that federal efforts to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel from 40 feet to 47 feet are still underway, with the project expected to be completed in June 2022. There are also more than $200 million in berth enhancements underway that will enable Bount Island to simultaneously accommodate two post-Panamax vessels and handle more containers, JAXPORT said.

The record volumes come as the port and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are urging would-be customers to consider using JAXPORT’s “congestion-free” facilities. 

“Throughout the pandemic, JAXPORT has had no vessels waiting at anchorage to enter the Jacksonville harbor. In addition, the port offers available berth and terminal capacity to easily accommodate vessels displaced by congestion at other U.S. ports,” JAXPORT said Monday. “Earlier this month, ocean carrier Hapag-Lloyd announced the company is temporarily routing a European container service to JAXPORT to ‘adapt to market needs.’”

DeSantis said earlier this month that the Florida seaports of JAXPORT, Port Everglades, Port Tampa Bay and Port Panama City are all able to take on more cargo following more than $1 billion in investments since 2019.

“Year after year we continue to invest in our seaports, in infrastructure and in workforce education to make sure our supply chain is resilient,” DeSantis said on Oct. 19. “I’m especially proud of Florida’s seaports. They are crown jewels in our state. While other U.S. ports are just now announcing around-the-clock operations, in Florida many of our ports are used to serving Florida farmers, families and businesses with 24-hour operations.”

DeSantis continued, “As the rest of the nation faces rampant inflation and businesses stare down unprecedented supply chain problems, our message is this: Florida is here, we have capacity, we have incentive packages to help businesses who want to move here and we are going to make sure Americans get their Christmas gifts this season.” 

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One Comment

  1. I have copied this article, which was great as the operators of the ports aren’t making excuses and pointing fingers, but have been proactive in keeping themselves ready for change.
    thank you

Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.