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A year of growth and records


The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) enjoyed a year of growth and records in 2012 with a record number of vessel calls, a record number of cruise passengers processed and record container volumes.

It was a year in which JAXPORT became – or consolidated its claim to be – the number one container port complex in Florida; the top U.S. port handling trade to Puerto Rico; and the principal U.S. gateway for vehicle exports. 

The port ended the year with a number of new deals firmly in place, such as Walt Disney Parks and Resorts importing most of the merchandise for its Central Florida parks through JAXPORT’s TraPac Container Terminal at Dames Point.

Walt Disney

JAXPORT, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and TraPac announced the Walt Disney arrangement on 19th June. The move reflects the significance of MOL’s investment in JAXPORT and its commitment to Jacksonville. The Tokyo-based shipping company opened its $300 million, state-of-the-art TraPac Container Terminal at Dames Point in 2009. TraPac is the U.S. terminal operating arm of MOL.

Ten days after that announcement, on 29th June, JAXPORT announced a direct Central American container service via the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). The global shipping line began a new direct weekly service between Jacksonville’s Talleyrand Marine Terminal and the Central American ports of Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala and Puerto Cortez, Honduras. This allowed JAXPORT to offer improved transit times for customers looking to reach these markets. 

Commodities trade

Guatemala and Honduras are part of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) with the United States. Among the principal commodities these nations trade with the U.S. are agricultural products including bananas, vegetables, coffee and shrimp; and textiles, garments and minerals. Guatemala and Honduras are also significant export markets for U.S. products such as agricultural machinery, chemicals, building materials and general consumer merchandise. The new service also allows JAXPORT customers to reach global markets via MSC’s transshipment hub in Freeport, Bahamas.

During the year, the Panama-based SC Line, which specialises in vehicle, truck and heavy equipment transport, began calling at JAXPORT’s Talleyrand Marine Terminal as part of its USA Truck ro-ro service. The biweekly service, announced in October last, connects JAXPORT with Colombia, Panama and Venezuela. SC Line’s executives chose JAXPORT because of its proximity to highways, accessibility to auctions, quality port-based automotive processors and ease of doing business. SC Line is partnering with Seaonus Stevedoring at Talleyrand, as well as Export Freight & Brokers, Inc (EFB Export), a worldwide shipping company concentrating on heavy equipment exports. SC Line recently acquired General Motors as an account.

SC Line’s hub in Cartagena, Colombia, links both the SC Line East Coast USA Truck route with the Gulf’s MexTruck route. It serves Houston, Altamira, Veracruz, Cartagena and Santa Marta, which features a 500,000 sq. ft. Free Trade Zone.

Heavy lifting

As year-end approached, the port had some heavy lifting to do. JAXPORT and its partners discharged two unusually large pieces of equipment, weighing a combined 300 tons, from a ship onto a specially designed truck. The heavy lift was completed on 9th November at the Talleyrand Marine Terminal. The movement of the 138-ton power plant generator and 120-ton turbine was accomplished by JAXPORT’s Seaonus Stevedoring and Spliethoff Worldwide Ocean Transport. The two massive pieces of cargo were accompanied by 23 smaller items. The offloading operation took more than four hours. Each of the two large pieces was transported separately on a special 36-axle, 300 ft. trailer. The cargo was transported to the Gainesville Renewable Energy Centre, a bio-mass energy facility in Florida.


JAXPORT began the current year with the same growth and expansion mindset. The Board had accepted a staff recommendation that, as the local harbour sponsor, the port should ask for the federal channel to be dredged to a depth of not less than 47 ft. The Board of Directors voted unanimously on 25th February to inform the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the port would pursue plans to develop a harbour deep enough to remain competitive and would therefore make an additional local investment in the project. This request will now be added to the final phases of the U.S. Army Corps’ harbour-deepening study, draft results of which are due to be released in May.