US federal government awards Jaxport additional US$93 million for harbour deepening

Blount Island container terminal at Jacksonville Port (Photo: Jaxport)
Blount Island container terminal at Jacksonville Port (Photo: Jaxport)

The US federal government has awarded the Jacksonville Port Authority (Jaxport) US$93 million for the next phase of deepening the Jacksonville shipping channel to 14.3 metres from its current depth of 12.1 metres.

Upon completion of the deepening project, the SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal at Blount Island will feature a vessel turning basin and have the ability to simultaneously accommodate two post-Panamax vessels. In November 2019, the US Department of Transportation awarded Jaxport a US$20 million grant to enable the facility to accommodate more containers on an expanded footprint.

To date, the US federal government, the state of Florida, Jaxport, and port tenant SSA Jacksonville have contributed or pledged a combined total of more than US$394 million toward the cost of the US$484 million deepening project, the first project of its kind to include funding from a private business.

Harbour deepening is divided into four segments, contracts A-D, which make up the full length of the 20-kilometre federally authorised project.

The current funding model covers the project's first 17 kilometres through Blount Island (contracts A, B and C). Contractors for the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are scheduled to complete the first 8.8 kilometres in the spring of 2020, marking the halfway point for this portion of the project.

Harbour deepening began in February 2018 and is anticipated to be complete in 2023.

The 14.3-metre depth is required to accommodate more cargo aboard the larger ships calling on Jaxport from destinations throughout Asia and other world markets through both the Panama and Suez canals.

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