Jaxport, in conjunction with the JAX Chamber, announced today that the Florida Ports Council (FPC) has joined the recently launched Deep Water Now initiative to encourage business and community leaders in Northeast Florida to support efforts to deepen the St. Johns River shipping channel to accommodate the next generation of larger cargo vessels.
The Florida Ports Council is a nonprofit corporation that serves as the professional association for Florida’s fifteen deepwater seaports and their management. The FPC provides leadership, advocacy and information on seaport-related issues before the Legislative and Executive Branches of State and Federal Government.
“It is critical that Florida’s ports act now to prepare for the global opportunities that will be arriving at our door,” said Doug Wheeler, president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council. “We applaud JAXPORT, JAX Chamber and other community leaders for coming together for this important effort to grow Northeast Florida’s economy.”
JAXPORT is a crucial component of economic development across Florida and in the region. Cargo moving through Florida seaports generates more than 550,000 direct and indirect jobs (one of the few industries returning to pre-recession employment levels in 2013). According to the latest economic impact studies, 65,000 jobs throughout Northeast Florida are supported by the Port of Jacksonville and the trade, logistics and associated transportation businesses it attracts to region. Deepening the harbor to 47 feet will allow the larger ships now being deployed to the U.S. East Coast through the Suez Canal and after 2015, through the new, wider locks of the Panama Canal, to arrive and depart from JAXPORT more fully loaded.
“Standing united for Deep Water Now with our fellow Florida seaports and business leaders sends a message that will resonate far and wide,” said JAXPORT CEO Brian Taylor. “Together we will deliver a deeper harbor and bring home the opportunity that it represents to the citizens of our state and the entire nation.”
“Deep Water Now is designed to raise awareness and support for the opportunities harbor deepening can mean to Jacksonville – and our region. I appreciate JAXPORT CEO Brian Taylor for his focus on this important milestone. On behalf of the JAX Chamber, we are proud to be a partner in this important work with JAXPORT and the Florida Ports Council,” said Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis.