Jacksonville Port Authority (Jaxport) CEO Eric Green has welcomed the $13.7 million in federal funding from the State of Florida to alleviate problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, Green said Jaxport is “extremely grateful” for the “long-standing support” it has received from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Secretary Kevin Thibault throughout the pandemic.
As it has for everyone, this last year has been a particularly challenging one for our industry, with the pandemic bringing cruise business to a halt and reducing cargo volumes and revenue for Florida ports.
“Through this historic investment, JAXPORT is well-positioned to not only protect Florida Jobs but to also continue to grow our port and the positive impact we have on the economy of our region and state.”
The state’s funding will be allocated through the FDOT and the criteria for how the funds can be used will be determined by the department.
The funding follows Jaxport’s announcement that it has seen a year-on-year (YoY) TEU traffic increase of 15% in the first three quarters of Fiscal Year 2021 as it processed more than one million containers between 1 October 2020 and 31 June 2021.
In a statement, Jaxport attributed the increase to its berth and terminal efficiencies and ability to handle two-way traffic, as well as the booming international demand for containerised goods.
Several port improvement projects will be completed by the end of 2022, including the federal project to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel to 47 ft, it said.
The project includes construction of a new vessel turning basin that will allow larger ships to turn at Blount Island berths.