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Scott, Rutherford visit JaxPort to voice commitment to dredging project

Visit comes before largest container ship to ever visit Jacksonville arrives

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott and U.S. Rep. John Rutherford visit JaxPort Monday morning.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott and U.S. Rep. John Rutherford visited the Jacksonville Port Authority Monday morning to talk about the federal commitment to the dredging project, which is two years ahead of schedule.

Their visit came just hours before Sky 4 captured Cape Sounio arriving about 1 p.m. at Blount Island from Asia. It was the largest container ship to ever visit Jacksonville and will be able to carry 11,000 containers into the port once the Harbor Deepening Project is complete. 

During their visit to JaxPort, Scott and Rutherford discussed their commitment to help secure federal funding to complete the 11-mile project, which is already underway, to deepen the St. Johns River from 40 feet to 47 feet.

"The big thing right now is we got to finish the dredge," Scott said. "When the port can take the larger ships, we're going to get more jobs."

The dredging project is expected to create about 13,000 jobs overall. The price tag is expected to exceed $400 million. 

JaxPort CEO Eric Green said private investors like SSA Marine made it possible for the project to move forward and finish ahead of schedule by 2023. 

"It allowed us to really take advantage of the private sector and their investment in the dredge project," Green said. "I don't know of any other dredge project in the entire country with a private investment and we have done that."

IMAGES: Largest container ship to ever visit Jacksonville

The agreement includes a state-of-the-art international container terminal at Blount Island, which will offer deep-water access for ships like Cape Sounio to do business at JaxPort fully loaded after the dredging is complete.

Cape Sounio, the largest container ship to ever visit Jacksonville, arrived Monday at JaxPort's Blount Island terminal.