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How East Coast Seaports Are Increasing Imports
July 06, 2017

How East Coast Seaports Are Increasing Imports

Things seem to be looking up for East Coast seaports, including the Port of Fernandina and JAXPORT located less than an hour drive from all corners of Nassau County, with Fernandina right in its own backyard!  As congestion and labor problems continue to pose threats to the West Coast ports, and major developments take place across the Eastern Seaboard, it is the East Coast that seeks to capitalize on the situation in a big way.  Last year's opening of the Panama Canal expansion has opened up a new lane of traffic allowing larger ships to traverse these profitable waters.  These new larger ships, known as New Panamax, are able to carry over twice as much cargo as the previous Panamax ships and are one and a half times their size.

While it is anticipated that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will still remain the main gateways for cargo, the East Coast makes for a worthy contender with its improved port access and strong rail connections to areas of high population.

The Rise of JAXPORT

JAXPORT, in particular, has experienced rapid and significant growth since the Panama Canal expansion in June 2016.  This international trade seaport in the heart of the South Atlantic recorded a 13-percent growth in Asian container shipments in the first six months of fiscal year 2017.  This is of particular significance, as the Asian container market is currently JAXPORT's fastest growing segment.  Overall, a 21-percent annual growth in this segment has been reported at the port over the past five years.

JAXPORT and the business it draws are essential to the continued economic success of nearby Nassau County, a region that depends heavily on the industrial sector for business.  Cargo activity through JAXPORT positively impacts tens of thousands of jobs, and generates almost $27 billion for the region in annual economic output.  This is the ultimate recipe for success for Nassau County with its excellent domestic distribution channels thanks primarily to its rapid highway access via two major interstates, I-95 and I-10, and rail-driven economy, serviced by two major railroads, Norfolk Southern and CSX.

What JAXPORT Must Do to Stay Competitive

Trade on the East Coast is likely to get more and more competitive as cargo companies continue to evaluate and recognize the benefits of using new shipping alternatives.  To stay competitive, JAXPORT’s current focus is on enhancing its port and continuing to secure economic growth for both Nassau County and Northeast Florida as a whole.

Fortunately, help is at hand thanks to the federal government committing $17.5 million that serves as a step in the right direction for JAXPORT to deepen its shipping channels and allow for the larger container vessels at its port.  JAXPORT is also investing in new infrastructure upgrades, including 100-gauge container cranes, a new on-dock rail facility and ongoing enhancements to the terminal.

A Thriving and Sustainable Community

The Nassau County Economic Development Board is committed to creating a sustainable and thriving community and wholeheartedly supports the deepening of JAXPORT and other initiatives that drive more business into the area.  In continuing in our efforts, we can attract new business investment to our county, and continue to create and grow a community that offers more jobs, generates more revenue and builds a sustainable future for the region.

If you are considering relocating your business to Nassau County, you will find more information about doing business in our region on our website www.nassauflorida.com.

Sources:

http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2017/05/24/major-milestone-for-jaxport-deepening-project.html
The NCEDB exists because of the generous support of the Nassau County Board of Commissioners, our local municipalities and economic development partners.
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