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FreightWaves Classics: Colts corraled; round-up of import autos nears finish at Jacksonville

Dodge Colts built in Japan and received over the Commodores Point Terminal operated by Strachan Shipping Company. Image: The Florida Journal of Commerce.

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The many industries that make up the world of freight have undergone tremendous change over the past several decades. Each week, FreightWaves explores the archives of American Shipper’s nearly 70-year-old collection of shipping and maritime publications to showcase interesting freight stories of long ago.

The following is an excerpt from the November 1971 edition of the Florida Journal of Commerce.

The round-up of all imported auto models into the Port of Jacksonville is approaching a successful conclusion with only a few strays yet to be corralled.

The latest model brought to port was Chrysler Corporation’s Japanese-made Colt; the first large shipment arriving on the MS Troll Forest September 21.

Another shipload had cleared the Panama Canal and was headed for this port when the longshore strike on October 1 caused the vessel and its autos to be diverted toward Europe.

Arrival of the 785 Colts in Jacksonville represented a diversion of business from the Port of Baltimore, which had been a port of entry for Colts into the Southeast and Northeast markets since their introduction a year ago. The Colts joined another Chrysler product, the British-built Crickets, which had already been corralled by Jacksonville.

Bert Morrow, Chrysler’s imported vehicle manager here, has set up offices in the Import Auto Service building on Talleyrand Avenue and computers link his office with the network of Chrysler marketing, parts and supply offices throughout the world. Import Auto Service has the contract to prepare the Chrysler autos for delivery – washing away the protective coatings applied for the ocean voyage, installing radios, air conditioners, special vinyl tops, and accessories for dealers.

Commercial Carriers Corporation trucks the Colts and Crickets to dealers throughout Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and parts of Tennessee. Delivery time to these Southeast dealers has been reduced to an average of two to five days, compared with 12- to 15-day deliveries out of Baltimore, Morrow said. Other U.S. ports of entry are Houston and Los Angeles.

Colts are built for Chrysler at Magoya, Japan by the Mitsubishi Auto Works, in which Chrysler is acquiring a stock interest of about 35%.

The 785 units delivered here September 21 arrived on Sanko Steamship Company’s M/S Troll Forest, discharging at Commodores Point Terminal operated by Strachan Shipping Company. A small lot of 52 autos was also delivered with other autos on the M/S Norbrott, which went to McGiffin Terminal just prior to the start of the strike.

The round-up of imported autos at Jacksonville began almost 20 years ago when Volkswagen began using this port as one of three Southeast ports of entry. VW has since concentrated all of its Southeast operations through Jacksonville, as have makers of Toyota, Datsun, Fiat, Mazda, Subaru, Mercedes, Triumph, Porsche, Audi, Honda, Saab, Volvo, BMC, MG, and Rolls-Royce.

A few strays (mostly French breeds) remain outside.

Image: The Florida Journal of Commerce