Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville’s Port Deepening Project Has Completed – More Cargo Ships From Asia Can Now Be Handled in Florida

Toby Hazlewood

Florida offers shipping firms an alternative to California

A project that kicked off over ten years ago - to dredge and deepen Jacksonville's port, so it could handle the largest container ships from Asia - has completed this week.

A channel that is 47 feet deep has been cleared into JaxPort at a project cost of $420 million. Jacksonville joins Miami in being one of two deep water ports in the state that are equipped to receive the biggest ships so they can dock and unload their cargo.

The completion ceremony was broadcast live on May 23:

Strengthening Florida's position in global shipping

Earlier this year, one of the world's largest shipping firms - Sea Lead Shipping - announced its decision to relocate it's operations which used to sail container ships from the Far East to California, to instead dock their vessels in Florida. Their first shipment arrived in Jacksonville earlier this month.

At the time, Governor Ron DeSantis was quick to welcome the move as a key indicator of Florida's growth in global shipping, and something that might help to alleviate the congestion seen at California's ports which was contributing to the ongoing supply chain crisis.

At one stage in early 2022, over 70 cargo ships were waiting offshore to unload their cargo for distribution across the country:

Growth in the south

Florida has 15 ports, 8 of which can handle containers and 5 of these could handle the size of vessels that found themselves anchored off California, waiting for the chance to unload. With the deepening of Jacksonville's port, it joins Miami but also Savannah and Charleston that have deep enough channels to accommodate the largest ships.

With this expansion, the southern states now seem to present a compelling opportunity to global shipping firms wanting to transport freight to the U.S. without wanting to dock on the west coast.

Do you see still see evidence of supply chain shortages in Florida? Do you think it's a good thing to bring more international trade through Florida's ports? Let me know in the comments section below.

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