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American Shipper

Jacksonville port readies major land purchase

Jacksonville port readies major land purchase

The Jacksonville Port Authority is preparing to sign a contract to purchase a 185-acre site along the port's main shipping channel that is likely to be the site of a second major terminal for the Asia trade, Executive Director Rick Ferrin said Thursday.

   Jaxport is also about to award a contract for construction of the new, $220 million container terminal on 158 acres at the port's Dames Point terminal. That terminal is being built for Mitsui O.S.K. Line. It will be operational by the end of 2008 and is expected to bring 800,000 TEUs of transpacific cargo a year to the port, doubling the port's total container volumes.

   Ferrin said the new site, owned by real estate mogul Abraham Zion, is located just northwest of Dames Point and would be developed into a container terminal similar to the MOL terminal, with the same throughput levels. He said the port is already in discussions with several carriers, mostly from Asia, about developing the site into a major container terminal within the next three to four years.

   A contract for the purchase of new site is expected to be signed either Friday or early next week, with closing expected in 60 to 90 days, Ferrin said.

   'This would propel us into the elite level of top-tier ports in the country,' he said about the addition of two new container terminals at Jacksonville.

      Jaxport now handles about 90 percent north/south cargo and 10 percent east/west cargo, Ferrin estimated. With the completion of the MOL terminal that would change to 35 percent east/west cargo. With a major transpacific consortium calling at the second new terminal, about 65 percent of the port's container business would be from east/west trades.