Eric Green, CEO, Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT)
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Eric Green, CEO, Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT)

It’s no secret that even the most efficient ports can be a pain point for shippers and ocean carriers. Whether it’s delays, labor issues or off-terminal problems like road congestion, ports and their surrounding inland transportation networks are a necessary but sometimes volatile component of the supply chain.

In the short term, depressed volumes globally have created a reprieve. However, volumes will bounce back. When they do, the industry wants to know that the nation’s ports are prepared to handle the next surge. That’s why Jacksonville, with the help of our elected officials and private industry partners, has made significant investments to provide the capabilities to serve the larger vessels now calling the 47-foot deepwater shipping channel at our Blount Island terminal. To complement the deepening, we have also modernized our container berths, added new eco-friendly cranes and expanded a turning basin, and are upgrading inbound and outbound gates and on-terminal roadways. 

A port’s commitment to providing seamless transportation solutions shouldn’t end at the gates. The industry expects end-to-end supply chain solutions. From chassis availability and efficient rail connections to stable labor and uncongested roadways — a port’s surrounding transportation network is part of its eco-system. 

That’s why we work holistically with our partners, including the Florida Department of Transportation, our rail partners and the industrial real estate community — to name a few — ensuring that as port volumes grow, so does our community’s ability to meet the growing demand.
The population in the Southeast United States, particularly Florida, will continue to grow. Ports that are consistently modernizing facilities and providing end-to-end service will be successful. Ports can avoid being a pain point, but it takes investments, collaboration and a high level of customer service to make all the pieces come together.