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  June 3rd, 2022 | Written by

Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project Complete Through JAXPORT’s Blount Island Marine Terminal

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$100 million in berth enhancements also completed to enable Blount Island to simultaneously accommodate two post-Panamax container ships.

Federal, state, and local leaders have joined JAXPORT and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District to celebrate the completion of the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project through JAXPORT’s Blount Island Marine Terminal. The project deepened 11 miles of the federal shipping channel—from the sea buoy to Blount Island—to a depth of 47 feet from its previous depth of 40 feet.

The 47-foot harbor provides the channel depth needed for larger ships to call Blount Island to and from destinations worldwide and allows existing ships calling Jacksonville to carry more cargo on board. In addition, the project includes a new turning basin allowing larger vessels to turn around at Blount Island berths.

In coordination with deepening, JAXPORT completed more than $100 million in berth enhancements this month to enable the SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal (JCT) at Blount Island to simultaneously accommodate two post-Panamax container ships. In early 2023, terminal operator SSA Atlantic will welcome three new eco-friendly 100-gauge container cranes, bringing the JCT’s total to six.

Deepening through Blount Island was completed three years ahead of the original project schedule. The total funding to date is $420 million funded through a public-private partnership between the federal government, State of Florida, City of Jacksonville, JAXPORT, and SSA Atlantic.

The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project creates or protects 15,000 jobs throughout the supply chain, including trucking, warehousing, and distribution. The initial feasibility study for the project began in 2005, and construction started in February 2018.

In addition to the deepening, berth improvements, and new cranes, more than $70 million in terminal enhancements—funded by SSA and a grant from the US Maritime Administration (MARAD)— are also underway to expand container capacity at the SSA JCT. By spring of 2023, SSA will complete the first three of seven construction phases, producing approximately 31 acres of newly paved and improved operating area.

The total project of approximately 93 acres will be complete by the end of 2024, allowing the SSA JCT to accommodate 500,000 TEUs (containers) annually.

The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project is a 13-mile federally authorized project. The current funding model covered the completion of the first 11 miles. The final two miles are authorized and under review.

JAXPORT is Florida’s largest container port and one of the nation’s top vehicle-handling ports. Jacksonville offers two-way ship traffic, no berth or terminal congestion, and same-day access to 98 million consumers.

Cargo activity through Jacksonville’s seaport supports 138,000 jobs in Florida and $31 billion in annual economic impact for the region and state. The port continues to make infrastructure improvements in support of JAXPORT’s mission to create jobs and economic opportunity for the citizens of Northeast Florida.