JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Mayor Alvin Brown gathered some community leaders together Thursday at the Jacksonville Port Authority to speak about membership in an exclusive club for commerce.

The new Exchange Network is part of the Global Cities Initiative, and several people at the announcement call it a tremendous opportunity for northeast Florida.

Inside the gates of JaxPort, a dozen or so people involved joined the mayor in declaring an economic victory for the entire area in the transportation of goods.

The Exchange they announced is a network of cities trying to grow their exporting on a global level. Brown talked about his goal of making northeast Florida the Global Gateway of the South.

The new leader at JaxPort, CEO Brian Taylor, said all of the partners in the effort won't stop until they achieve the mayor's goal.

"This is all about growing -- growing private-sector jobs -- about singular focus as port, region, maximizing all we have here in northeast Florida," Taylor said.

JPMorgan Chase and Brookings Institute are part of the project. Chase executive Mike Butler calls this new network exactly the kind of innovative planning needed to ensure the community's long-term economic success.

Jacksonville is one of eight metropolitan areas named to the first Exchange class. Each city or group works together over the next four years to establish metro-to-metro relationships and share best practices when it comes to global economic development.