JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was at JaxPort on Friday to make a major economic announcement.
DeSantis announced he’s inked a deal with a shipping company and JaxPort for container service. Sea Lead Shipping, which is based out of Singapore, is moving part of its operations from California to JaxPort, making JaxPort its first U.S. port for container service on the East Coast.
The plan is for the port in Blount Island to be the last stop of the rotation. This container service will also make four stops in Asiac, including cities in China and South Korea. It will also hit ports in Virginia, New Jersey and South Carolina before its last stop at Blount Island.
The ship will make stops at JaxPort every two weeks.
“I don’t think that Sea Lead could have picked a better place than here in JaxPort,” DeSantis said.
JaxPort CEO Eric Green said this is a big move to this part of the country and it puts the port in the spotlight. According to JaxPort officials, JaxPort serves more than 98 million customers in the United States with same-day access.
“We are creating more jobs economic opportunity and supply chain security for our region and state,” Green said.
DeSantis said: “JaxPort, I think, was one of the first to have ships rerouted to Jacksonville, and we have seen success at all these other ports.”
Pramod Raj, with Sea Lead Shipping, said the company decided to make a move to the East Coast after experiencing significant slow down at a port in Long Beach, California. He’s hopeful things will be different in Jacksonville.
“This is an opportunity we have taken, and we want to grow this to a long-term relationship,” Raj said.
One of the biggest issues facing the nation that has led to record inflation is supply chain problems. DeSantis has welcomed cargo ships that have been having issues getting into other ports.
DeSantis said the new deal will strengthen the struggling supply chain.
“On the supply chain side, of course, we’re just one state, but we take pride in our ports. We’ve made a lot of investment in our ports, and we wanted to say Florida is part of the solution,” DeSantis said. “You have all those ships that’ll just be sitting off the coast -- California, Savannah, Georgia, wherever it is -- we said we had capacity here in JaxPort and in our other ports and we stand ready to assist to make sure goods are getting to market.”
The first container is planned to arrive at Blount Island on May 7.