BAE Systems breaks ground for new shiplift, land level facility in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – BAE Systems is building a modern Pearlson Shiplift and land level repair facility at its Jacksonville shipyard and broke ground on the addition Tuesday.

Rep. Aaron Bean (R-Fla.) and other officials attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

BAE says the new shiplift complex will expand its ability to service both U.S. Navy ships at Mayport Naval Station and commercial vessels operating out of the Port of Jacksonville.

“The maritime industry is exploding in this area. The Navy is bringing more ships here. We had an aging infrastructure, and it was time to invest and respond to the needs of the Navy and the needs of the local community,” said Tim Spratto, BAE Systems general manager.

In Jacksonville, BAE Systems specializes in repair and maintenance work for U.S. Navy combatants, U.S. Coast Guard cutters, mega-yachts, river cruise ships, tugs, barges, and offshore and research vessels.

“This development is a game changer for Mayport Naval Station because it would allow thousands of ships to be able to come here and also, they’ll be able to do repairs here as well,” Spratto said.

The company said that when it’s operational in 2025, the new Pearlson shiplift will be the largest ship docking system in Florida and one of the top 10 largest in the world with a lifting capacity of 25,000 tons.

“The technology allows for faster dockings, and will increase our capacity here by over 300%,” Spratto said.

Hundreds gathered at the shipyard Tuesday to cheer on the launch of the project, which Spratto said won’t just benefit the port but will also create more job opportunities throughout Jacksonville.

“It’ll bring hundreds of jobs here, good jobs. Both during construction and once the shiplift comes online,” Spratto said.

About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.