The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) has been awarded $75 million by the Jacksonville City Council for its harbour deepening project as it looks to increase its regional and national economic presence.
In a statement, JAXPORT described the announcement as “a historic win” and claimed 15,000 jobs will be created or protected as a result. The $75 million will be divided into a $35 million grant and $40 million loan.
The harbour deepening will allow bigger ships to call at the Port of Jacksonville and ensure it remains a vital hub of trade and commerce; it is due to be completed by 2023.
The news will be particularly welcome as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause uncertainty and congestion at some of America’s biggest ports, the worst affected being the trade gateways to China on the West coast.
Jacksonville’s maritime labour unions have advocated for a deeper harbour for more than a decade and describe the funding as “monumental for the hardworking men and women who work in and around JAXPORT’s terminals”.
“As Northeast Florida’s economic engine, JAXPORT will continue to play a vital role in the economic recovery of our region and state,” said JAXPORT CEO Eric Green.
“We are grateful for the support and leadership of Mayor Curry, the Jacksonville City Council, and our federal, state and private industry partners, as we work together to build a brighter future for our community through the jobs and opportunities a deeper harbour creates.”