Jacksonville Port Authority

The Zim vessel Cape Sounio at JAXPORT in March 2019.

The Florida Ports Council is asking Congress for $3.5 billion in aid to help U.S. seaports and maritime businesses recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic as talks continue on an economic-stimulus package.

ship at JAXPORT

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown’s port task force voted this week in support of deepening the Jacksonville Harbor and increasing offsets for environmental harm that may result. What they did not decide was how to pay for the projects.

The task force voted seven-to-one that dredging the port — from 40 feet to 47 feet to accommodate Asian “megaships” — makes good sense for the city.

They estimate $380 million must come from state and local governments but stopped short of outlining a funding plan.

Peter Haden / WJCT

Starting soon, the Nestlé food company will begin shipping its Puerto Rico exports out of JAXPORT.

Florida Governor Rick Scott announced the company’s shift to Jacksonville’s port Monday in California. Scott met with Nestlé reps while on a trade mission there.

According to a statement from Scott’s office, Nestlé expects to increase exports to Puerto Rico by at least 400 percent over the next six months. The company currently ships to the U.S. territory from ports in New York and New Jersey.

St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman joins us to discuss the unlikely partnership between environmentalists, the City of Jacksonville, Jax Chamber and JaxPort to remove the Rodman Dam in Putnam County. This controversial agreement would involve moving ahead with the planned dredging of the St. Johns River while allowing more fresh water into the system by restoring the Ocklawaha River.

Peter Haden / WJCT

At 310 miles long, the St. Johns is the longest river in Florida. It’s flat and slow - flowing at less than half-a-mile per hour - but not lazy. The St. Johns is the state’s most important river for commerce and recreation. Its significance runs deep, but for some, a stretch of the river needs to run deeper.

Meredith Fordham Hughes / JAXPORT/Flickr

The Jacksonville Port Authority is moving ahead with plans to dredge the St. Johns River down to a depth of 47 feet, a project estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

According to a report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers due to be released on Friday, the deepening of Jacksonville's ship channel to 47 feet would cost $733 million. The Jacksonville Port Authority would have to cover half of those costs, while the federal government would cover the rest.