MOL invests in new Jacksonville container terminal
Tokyo-based Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. on Aug. 3 will sign a 30-year lease agreement with the Jacksonville Port Authority to build a new terminal that will see container services to and from Asia returning to the Florida port after an absence of about 25 years.
The new terminal will be located at Dames Point in Northeast Jacksonville, and projected volumes anticipate the terminal will double container volumes at the port. Initial plans give the new terminal an annual capacity of 360,000 TEUs, although this number could grow to more than 800,000 TEUs annually. In 2004, the port of Jacksonville handled 727,000 TEUs.
'This opportunity is consistent with our strategy of expanding our terminal operations in the United States, as well as enhancing service for our customers by providing them with multiple, cost-effective service alternatives,' said Hiroyuki Sato, deputy president at MOL.
'We believe the new terminal at Dames Point will become a major gateway for service between the rapidly growing Southeast U.S./Asia and U.S./Latin America markets,' Sato added.
Construction of the Dames Point terminal is estimated to cost approximately $200 million, including the cost for cranes and equipment. Work will begin in the next few months and the terminal is expected to take about two years to complete.
The first phase of the contract calls for the port authority and MOL to fund construction of a 158-acre container-handling facility, which will include two 1,200-foot berths, six Post-Panamax container cranes and other infrastructure. Additional phases of the project could see MOL's presence at the port expand to more than 200 acres.
Once completed, the Dames Point terminal will be operated by MOL-owned container terminal operator and vessel stevedoring company Trans Pacific Container Service Corp.
Talk of the port authority securing a terminal lease agreement with a then-unnamed Asian carrier was first muted at the start of the year.
'Securing Asian container service fulfills a major strategic goal we've been pursuing for many years, and it instantly makes Jacksonville's port one of the most significant Asian connections on the U.S. East Coast,' said Roy Schleicher, senior director of marketing and customer service at the port authority.