As ships get bigger and bigger, US ports such as JAXPORT are having to adapt for even larger vessels coming their way.
This need for change has been felt in Jacksonville after the largest containership to ever visit a Florida port, the 10,100-TEU MOL Bravo, arrived after transitting the Suez Canal from Asia.
Although the ship is moving a significant amount of cargo during its Jacksonville stop, it won’t be able to operate at full capacity due to the 40-foot depth of the St. Johns River shipping channel.
The federal project to deepen the channel to 47 feet to accommodate more cargo aboard the largest ships is set to begin construction by early 2018.
Dennis Kelly, Regional Vice President and General Manager, TraPac Jacksonville, said: “When our harbor is deepened to 47 feet, a ship like the MOL Bravo will move twice as much cargo in and out of JAXPORT.”
Vincent Cameron, President, International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) Local 1408, added: “We are currently at a depth challenge. When we get the river to 47 feet, we will start seeing significantly more cargo.
“Containers represent jobs and the more containers we bring in the more jobs we create.”
JAXPORT offers direct trade with Asian ports through both the Panama and Suez Canals.
The world’s three largest ocean carrier alliances offer service through JAXPORT and are dominating Asian trade with the US.
This has led to JAXPORT achieving an average of 21% annual growth in Asian container volumes during the past five years.
Many ports in the US are seeing development take place to expand their services.