JaxPort signs agreement to strengthen trade relationship with Puerto Rico

Joel A. Pizá Batiz, executive director for the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, and JaxPort CEO Eric Green signed a memorandum of understanding Monday to strengthen the ports' relationship. (Courtesy of JaxPort)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – JaxPort and the Puerto Rico Ports Authority on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in hopes of growing their mutually beneficial relationship.

Jacksonville is the top U.S. port for trade with Puerto Rico, handling nearly 90% of all sea trade between the island and U.S. mainland. Similarly, Puerto Rico is the city’s top trading partner according to annual cargo volume, with roughly 800,000 container units shipped annually between the two ports.

The goal of the MOU is to build on that relationship and work together on business development and marketing, building relationships with shipping companies and sharing best practices in environmental protection, operations and security, among other priorities.

“This MOU highlights the strong connection between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico and strengthens our efforts to collaborate when and where both communities can benefit,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said. “I applaud (JaxPort CEO) Eric Green, the board and the amazing team here at JaxPort. With our friends and colleagues in Puerto Rico, we’ll continue to see greater job growth and economic development for our communities in the years ahead.”

Jacksonville is home to three Puerto Rican ocean carries — Tote Maritime Puerto Rico, Crowley Maritime and Trailer Bridge — all of which are headquartered in the River City.

Green praised the relationship the ports share, saying that Puerto Rico makes up roughly half of JaxPort’s container business and has for years even as both ports have grown. His counterpart — Joel A. Pizá Batiz, executive director for the Puerto Rico Ports Authority — echoed those sentiments.

“These are historical ties and a decades-long relationship between the two parties,” Pizá Batiz said. “The benefits to both ports and both cities of inter-port cooperation will achieve the goals of building deeper business relationships of mutual benefit and promoting economic growth.”