CLIMBING OUT OF ITS GRAVE, the port of Jacksonville has returned to its traditional role as one of the Southeast's leading seaports.

But the relief being expressed these days at the Jacksonville Port Authority derives from more than the additional revenue to come pouring in

from the Econships. That involves the expected 40 percent boost in Sea-Land Service's annual Jacksonville tonnage now that the Econships are about to come to town.Paul deMariano, port authority managing director, believes the expanded Sea-Land service should finally reverse local public perception of the port as a losing entity destined to eat Savannah's and Charleston's dust. The port has been on a strong roll over the past 10 months. In addition to the Sea-Land development, American Transport Lines began using the port authority docks and will soon be joined by Trailer Marine Transport.

Mr. deMariano said with those services, plus the port's role as Navieras de Puerto Rico's major hub and the city's expanding intermodal connections, Jacksonville is finally and truly load-centered.

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IN THE INTEREST OF FAIRNESS, it should be noted that Tom Burke, executive director of the Port Everglades Authority, landed a big one for his port.

A recent column pointed out that Mr. Burke has been reaping the benefits, including a nice salary increase, of Port Everglades' soaring container traffic, even though most of the business responsible for the tremendous gains was lined up before he came onboard.

However, that wasn't the case with the Sea-Land-TFL-Nedlloyd service to northern Europe, for which Mr. Burke and his staff can rightfully stand up and take a bow.

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IT'S PROBABLY A GOOD IDEA for reporters to stay away from absolutes, such as a statement in a recent story of mine on Joyce Hanson, Jacksonville port engineer with Puerto Rico Marine Management Inc.

The story described Ms. Hanson as the only female port engineer in her union, the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association District 1, and perhaps the only one in the country. (She shares her responsibilities with another Jacksonville engineer, Rudy Saliga.)

Naturally, the day the story appeared, Ms. Hanson received a call from Carol Curtiss, assistant port engineer in Oakland for American President Lines, who also is a member of MEBA 1. Ms. Curtiss said there are several other female engineers in the union on the West Coast, although the others work aboard ship.

Despite that gaffe, both Ms. Hanson and Ms. Curtiss appreciated the story if for no other reason than it let them know there really are other women in their field out there, although not many.

It's total isolation, Ms. Curtiss said, referring to being a woman in an overwhelmingly male profession. I had to do it all on my own. I wish I had the support (of a women's network) when I was coming up.

The 1980 honors graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., said she and Ms. Hanson hope their phone conversion can lead to getting a support network off the ground.

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A MASTER OF UNDERSTATEMENT is Don Hinson, deputy executive director of the South Carolina State Ports Authority.

The agenda Mr. Hinson submitted for this month's port authority board meeting listed one action item as: Board will be requested to approve an agreement with a steamship line.

That generic agreement was for a guaranteed annual cargo throughput of nearly 900,000 tons by the generic line in question, Sea-Land Service.

If there was any last-second factor that could have killed the deal for Charleston, it certainly wasn't going to be an inability to keep lips sealed.