The board of directors of Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) has approved a long-term agreement with terminal operator SSA Marine for the development and operation of a $238.7m international container terminal at Blount Island Marine Terminal.
The facility, SSA Jacksonville International Gateway Terminal, is part of an expansion of SSA Marine’s leasehold at Blount Island and will offer deepwater berthing for larger container ships calling JAXPORT from Asia more fully loaded.
SSA Marine will be expanded to 80 acres of terminal operating space, with the option to be increased to 120 acres as space becomes available.
Upon completion of the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening project in 2023, the facility will offer a vessel-turning basin and deepwater access of 47ft.
SSA Marine will contribute $28m for exclusive use of JAXPORT’s three 100-gauge cranes and the funds will be used for the deepening project.
The 25-year agreement includes two five-year renewal options and a number of improvements to the Blount Island terminal.
SSA Marine will contribute up to $129.7m for the use of the terminal and facility upgrades, including the addition of three new 100-gauge container cranes.
JAXPORT will complete $109m in berth rehabilitation and upgrades, which have already begun, and will allow the terminal to simultaneously accommodate two post-Panamax vessels.
JAXPORT CEO Eric Green said: “We are thrilled to partner with a major international terminal operator that is as dedicated as we are to contributing to the economic vitality of Northeast Florida.
“The significant investments SSA Marine has committed to this facility, accompanied by their unparalleled industry knowledge and experience, allows us to take full advantage of all of the opportunities the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening project creates for our port and our region.”
A JAXPORT partner for more than four decades, SSA Marine currently leases 50 acres at Blount Island. The terminal is expected to create or protect 3,000 jobs over the first 10 years of the contract.
SSA Conventional president Mark Knudsen said: “SSA Marine has a longstanding commitment to Jacksonville and we are proud to invest in this community in such a meaningful way.
“The port’s strong leadership team and strategic location in the growing southeast US market – combined with the efficiencies created by a deeper harbor give us the tools we need to operate a world-class container terminal and further position Jacksonville as a gateway for global trade.”
Image: JAXPORT CEO Eric Green and SSA Conventional president Mark Knudsen shake hands during the signing of agreement. Photo: Courtesy of Jacksonville Port Authority.