The Jacksonville Port Authority is starting the year off with record-breaking growth.
At the annual State of the Port address Thursday, CEO Eric Green announced JAXPORT had its busiest-ever January shipping containers and cars.
“What we see with the numbers that our trajectory continues to climb,” he said. “So only being in the first quarter this year, it’s very hard to speculate on where we’re going to this year, but if it’s anything like the first, we’ll experience record numbers [of] cargo.”
JAXPORT’s customers moved 16 percent more containers than in January 2018, with nearly 121,400 twenty-foot cargo units (TEU) moving through the port.
The final quarter of 2018, saw the biggest growth coming from Asia. Container traffic to and from Asia was up 17% at nearly 164,000 TEU. Asian container volume has grown 14% annually over the past five years.
In January, nearly 61,500 cars moved through Jaxport. That’s up 7 percent from the same period last year.
Green said JAXPORT’s success is creating jobs.
“It’s an opportunity for the market to grow. What we’re beginning to experience are companies coming to Jacksonville, distribution companies such as Wayfair and others. So, the port and its growth trajectory... what it symbolizes is that Jacksonville is on the map,” he said.
Green also announced that JAXPORT has been able to shave off two years from a harbor deepening project that was slated for completion in 2025.
Green said the company is on track to finish the project in 2023. That’s as the St. Johns Riverkeeper is suing to block the deepening over concerns that it will lead to increased flooding and river salinity.
JAXPORT moves more than 1.3 million TES through the port of Jacksonville annually, making it Florida’s largest container port complex.