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First Coast Connect: JAXPORT Not Feeling Effects Of Hanjin Bankruptcy

Peter Haden
Containers wait for transport at JAXPORT's Blount Island Terminal.

It hasn’t been a good year in the international shipping trade.

South Korea’s Hanjin, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, filed for bankruptcy this month, and other international shipping companies are having problems as well.

Among the issues, companies were too aggressive and built too many bigger ships too fast. And with the global economy sluggish and places like China slowing down their imports, the industry is reported to lose about $6 billion this year.

But according to local officials, the Jacksonville Port Authority is not expecting much of a slowdown.

Hanjin, which once had plans to build a Jacksonville shipping terminal, hasn’t docked at JAXPORT for several years.

Appearing on First Coast Connect on Monday, JAXPORT senior director of communication Nancy Rubin discussed changes in the port business.

“All industries grow and contract,“ she said. “Some of the shippers are consolidating, becoming more efficient, the ships are getting larger. As far as JAXPORT we have been growing in the container business.”  

JAXPORT handled 8.2 million tons of cargo last year from around the world. It’s the leading container port in Florida.

Working with JAXPORT to bring more business to northeast Florida is JAXUSA Partnership, a division of JAXChamber. JAXUSA President Jerry Mallot said the port is a very important part of what they do.

“We’ve had a number of projects in the past several years that are and will be using JAXPORT,” he said. “Amazon is the really big name that’s coming here with a big center. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll import everything through JAXPORT because they have a huge national and international system but we think we’re going to get a decent amount of business through that project.”

One other area local officials are optimistic about is JAXPORT’s potential role with liquefied natural gas or LNG.

After LNG fueled ships began arriving in Jacksonville in 2015, JAXPORT officials hope to build an LNG terminal at the port. Mallot said there is great potential in LNG because it can be stored safer than other fuels and burns cleaner and more efficiently.

Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax


Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.