The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' just released work plan has allocated $17.5 million for the deepening of the Jacksonville harbor, the first federal dollars committed to the project's construction.
The funding is designated for the initial phase of the project to deepen the federal shipping channel to 47 feet. The additional depth is required to accommodate more cargo aboard today's larger ships calling on JAXPORT from Asia through both the Panama and Suez canals.
"The inclusion of this critical harbor improvement project in the work plan sends a clear message: Deepening Jacksonville's harbor is a project of national importance," said JAXPORT interim CEO Eric Green. "We are thankful for the support of our elected representatives in Washington, Tallahassee and here at home who are working tirelessly to ensure our port remains competitive in the rapidly expanding Asian trade lane, continues to generate high-quality jobs for the citizens of Northeast Florida and remains ready to serve in the interest of national security."
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said, "I want to congratulate Eric Green and the JAXPORT Board of Directors for their success making the case for federal funding. We now have a firm commitment from Washington and a clear demonstration that the expansion of JAXPORT is a national priority. This will mean more jobs and economic growth for Jacksonville and Northeast Florida in the years ahead."
JAXPORT has recorded an average of 21 percent year-over-year growth in Asian cargo volumes during each of the past five years. JAXPORT is one of 17 U.S. Strategic Seaports on-call to move military cargo for national defense.