JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A combined $47 million of investment will be funneled into the Jacksonville Port Authority as part of an effort to slash the port’s environmental footprint and speed up the supply chain.
The money will go towards funding a project called “JaxPort Express,” which aims to make the port’s operations more sustainable and more efficient.
This week, the Biden Administration announced more than $700 million from the recently passed infrastructure bill to fund 41 projects across 22 states.
News4JAX spoke to leaders at the port – and at the White House – about this multi-million-dollar endeavor.
A Senior Advisor to President Biden, and the coordinator for the infrastructure, investment and jobs act, Mitch Landrieu, said millions of that sum is heading to the Sunshine State.
“$23 million for JaxPort in Jacksonville, $19 million for the Port Everglades, and another $354,000, for a design study of a Putnam City in Palatka, which is critically important, everybody knows that to lower costs, you have to get the supply chains moving, you have to get stuff from ship to shelves as fast as possible,” Landrieu said.
To make that happen, JaxPort and its two largest tenants, SSA Jacksonville and Crowley Maritime are matching the $23.5 grant for a total investment of $47 million into JaxPort Express.
The biggest chunk of that money will go toward buying eco-friendly equipment like hybrid loading cranes and zero-emission forklifts, as well as the infrastructure to charge all that machinery.
Patrick Tamasitis, the General Manager at Crowley Maritime oversees Crowley’s Jacksonville operations.
“This is a huge push and a huge initiative to, we’re committed to net zero emissions by 2050,” Tamasitis said. “So this is a big blue chip here.”
Nick Primrose, who heads JaxPort’s regulatory compliance, said this project will benefit more than just the environment.
“It’s going to make it more efficient and more eco-friendly,” Primrose said. “So, it’s not something that we just threw out because we wanted to look good. We worked with our partners Crowley and SSA, to come up with solutions that would actually have an impact not only in carbon emissions, and reducing our footprint, creating energy efficiency, and less reliance on diesel fuel, -- but at the same time, more efficiently handling cargo so that it gets on and off the vessels quicker.”
The express project includes some workforce development programs in order to train workers on how to operate and maintain the new technology.