Ceres to open auto terminal at Jacksonville

Ceres to open auto terminal at Jacksonville

Ceres Marine Terminals Inc. will develop an auto terminal at the Port of Jacksonville.

Under a five-year operating and lease agreement with the Jacksonville Port Authority, Ceres will lease 13 acres at the port's Blount Island Marine Terminal..

Ceres is projected to handle some 44,000 vehicles and provide stevedoring services to approximately 100 vessels annually from the leased property.

The agreement, which takes effect on Wednesday, will produce about $3.2 million in new revenue for the port over the term of the contract.

The first vessel to call at the terminal will be an NYK Line ship next week. The Japanese shipping company acquired Ceres in October 2002.

The port is relocating other customers at Blount Island to make room for Ceres, one of the world's largest marine terminal operators.

The deal marks a return to the port for Ceres, which operated there in the early 1980s.

"Ceres is pleased to return to this expanding market in the South Atlantic," said Bruce Cashon, the Weehawken, N.J.-based company's vice president of marketing and business development. "Jacksonville is growing in the same areas that we are - ro-ro, containers and cruise, and we are eager to compete for future opportunities."