A dedication ceremony has been held to mark the completion of a major portion of the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project, which covers work on the expansion and increased capacity of the Blount Island Marine Terminal at JAXPORT, which is the largest container port in Florida.
The project’s construction began in 2018, with feasibility studies starting as far back as 2005, and it was completed three years ahead of schedule by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District. The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project is a 13-mile federally approved project in which 11 miles of federal shipping channel have been deepened from the sea buoy down to Blount Island, from the previous 40 feet depth to a new depth of 47 feet.
This new 47 feet depth achieved by the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project, ensures that the channel at the harbour is deep enough to accommodate larger ships intending to call Blount Island to and from any destination around the world; the depth also gives existing ships calling Jacksonville the opportunity to haul more load on board. A new turning basin was also included as part of the project, which offers room for larger vessels to turn around at Blount Island berths.
Berth Enhancements completed along with Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project
The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project was completed along with several berth enhancements to the tune of over $100 million. These enhancements would enable the SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal (JCT) at Blount Island to hold two post-Panamax container ships. Terminal operator SSA Atlantic is expecting three new eco-friendly 100-gauge container cranes by early 2023, increasing the total at JCT to six. Terminal enhancements to expand container capacity at the SSA JCT for an estimated $70 million are also underway, and these costs will be financed by the SSA and through a grant from the US Maritime Administration (MARAD).
Approximately $420 million has been spent so far on the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project, with funding coming from a public-private partnership between the federal government, State of Florida, City of Jacksonville, JAXPORT, and SSA Atlantic. According to the JAXPORT CEO, Eric Green, JAXPORT is now fully operational with the completion of the harbour deepening project and ready to serve the needs of customers, while also creating jobs for locals in the community.