Gov. Rick Scott was joined by state and local officials Monday at the Jacksonville Port Authority to highlight the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility project at the Dames Point Marine Terminal, which will allow ships and freight trains to transfer cargo containers efficiently, giving JaxPort faster access to Southeast markets.
According to JaxPort, the project is expected to create more than 340 construction jobs and 800 direct and indirect jobs over the next four decades.
"We're committed to making Florida the trade gateway to the world," Scott said. "That's why we committed funding for this project to create more than 1,000 jobs for Florida families. This project will allow the port to be more competitive and grow more volume, which will create more opportunities for families in the Jacksonville community. We continue to invest in our seaports because they are tremendous economic generators and provide jobs for Florida families."
The ICTF project will provide on-dock rail service to JaxPort's north Jacksonville marine terminals. It will facilitate the direct transfer of containers between vessels and trains, speeding up the shipment process and reducing the number of trucks on the road. It will also decrease the cost for draying trailers and containers between the Dames Point and Blount Island Marine Terminals and shippers' and receivers' facilities.
"There is no time to waste in strengthening the port to take full advantage of trade growth, create more jobs, and stay competitive in the regional, national and international marketplace," U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw said. "Gov. Scott understands that projects like the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility and the deepening of the St. Johns are two examples of initiatives that will open the door wider to tremendous economic opportunity. He and everyone on the port team deserve our thanks. If we do not act quickly, JaxPort will fall behind competitors on the East Coast, and the economic engine that has driven this community for the past decade will be put in danger."
"We appreciate the governor's strong leadership in support of JaxPort to make sure our city and state stay competitive in the global economy," Mayor Alvin Brown said. "We must build the very best port infrastructure to create more jobs and make the most of the growing business opportunities offered by international trade."
The $30 million project is made up of both state and federal funds. Scott and FDOT have committed $20 million to the development of the ICTF, while JaxPort was awarded a $10 million in 2011 from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The new facility, expected to be complete in late 2015, will complement existing on-dock rail facilities at the Blount Island Marine terminal and will further enhance the competitiveness of the TraPac Container Terminal at Dames Point.
Brown also unveiled members of his newly-formed Jacksonville Port Task Force. The task force will focus on building community support for JaxPort's strategic priorities for growth and development in the trade and logistics industries, including the channel deepening project, which would allow larger cargo ships to utilize the port.
The task force will be co-chaired by John Baker and Martin E. "Hap" Stein. Baker currently serves as executive chairman for Patriot Transportation Holding. Stein is chairman and CEO of Regency Centers, which owns, operates and develops dominant, grocery-enhanced retail centers.
There are 11 other members.
"Our whole community has a stake in JaxPort's future," Brown said. "That's why it's so important for our community to be fully engaged. This task force will help ensure that we are doing everything we can to help JaxPort reach its full potential for our region."