Worldwide Terminals Fernandina - Port of Fernandina, Florida closes on $2 million bridge financing

JOC Staff | Sep 25, 2018, 3:46 PM EDT

Worldwide Terminals Fernandina (“WTF”), working in partnership with the Ocean Highway and Port Authority of Nassau County (“OHPA”), are pleased to announce that they have closed on a $2 million Bridge Financing Facility with BRANCH BANKING AND TRUST COMPANY (“BB&T”) for the acquisition of a Liebherr Mobile Harbor Crane (the “Crane”). This purchase will include all necessary attachments including a state-of-the-art container spreader, as well as, onsite training.
The actual funding for the Crane was the result of a $2 million grant authorized by the Florida State Legislature, approved by Governor Rick Scott, and funded through the Florida Department of Transportation (“FDOT”) to the OHPA, and was the result of diligent efforts by State Senator Aaron Bean and State Representative Cord Byrd. The bridge financing provided by BB&T facilitates the purchase and delivery of the Crane by alleviating timing issues with the FDOT funding.
Christopher T. Ragucci, Chief Executive of Worldwide Terminals Fernandina remarked, “We continue to believe that Nassau Terminals is an undiscovered gem in the growing Southeast region. The acquisition of this Crane will support the continued growth of our Port operations. We are grateful to Governor Scott and appreciate the dedication of Senator Bean and Representative Byrd to the growth of world trade and the economy in Nassau County. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our financial and equity partners in WTF, Four Wood Capital Partners, who arranged this innovative financing on behalf of OHPA”.
John M. Morale, Managing Partner at Four Wood Capital Partners who also serves as WTF’s Vice Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary commented, “We are pleased to work with a premier financial provider such as BB&T to secure the necessary funding for this project on behalf of our colleagues at OHPA. This transaction is a part of the first phase of our capital improvement plan for the Port which will bring more jobs and greater economic growth to Nassau County. Further, we also note that we are in the process of finalizing a new long-term Operating Agreement with OHPA which we hope to have executed by October 4, 2018”.
“Strategically positioned ports are essential to retaining, as well as, attracting industry to an area and we are blessed to have one here in Nassau County (Northeast Florida) to help us achieve both goals”, remarked Laura DiBella, Executive Director of the Nassau County Economic Development Board, and Port Director for the Port of Fernandina. “I am thankful for Worldwide Terminals’ commitment to our unique general cargo port and even more excited to work with them."
The Port of Fernandina’s Operator, Nassau Terminals, LLC, was acquired by Worldwide Terminals Fernandina, LLC, a subsidiary of the Worldwide Group, LLC, and Four Wood Capital Partners, LLC, a New York based asset management and merchant banking firm in February 2018.
The terminal currently handles paper and forest products exported to the Caribbean, Central and South America by companies such as Barnett Paper, WestRock and Caribbean Forest Carriers. It also serves as homeport for Somers Isle Shipping’s containerized service to Bermuda, now in its 33rd year. The terminal handles imported forest products from Asia and Scandinavia, as well as, certain bulk commodities. Plans call for an additional capital investment of $15 million in the coming years to modernize the Port’s facilities including additional cranes and cargo handling equipment, as well as, a berth extension and an on-dock paper warehouse to better accommodate our customers. The Port has 300,000 square feet of warehouse facilities and daily on-dock rail service. It has a fully-certified Container Freight Station, and the Port will be adding Foreign Trade Zone designation as well.
Worldwide Terminals Fernandina has an experienced workforce that offers turn-key services including freight-forwarding, trucking, warehousing and distribution management and is capable of handling bulk, break-bulk, project cargo, containerized and refrigerated cargoes, as well as, steel and lumber. Worldwide Terminals Fernandina is an ideal multi-purpose port, located less than two miles from the open ocean, offering the most cost-efficient service in the Southeast region. The Port currently has active trade with South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda, with plans to expand into Europe and Asia over the next year.
BB&T Corporation is a bank holding company based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Its bank, BB&T, operates 2,049 branches in 15 states and Washington, D.C., and offers consumer and commercial banking, securities brokerage, asset management, mortgage, and insurance products and services. It is the 16th largest bank in the U.S. with assets of $221.6 billion. Its subsidiary, BB&T Insurance Services, is one of the largest insurance brokers in the world.
Please contact either Chris Ragucci (904.990.1400); or John M. Morale (646.515.7561); with any questions or for more information.