Florida’s ports are growing fast. The State’s container ports are being buoyed by both the shifts to the East Coast from Asia via the Suez Canal and proximity to the Panama Canal for Transpacific freight.

The Port of Jacksonville

The Port of Jacksonville had a busy year in 2022 as JAXPORT inked a number of agreements critical to the Port’s future.

Perhaps the biggest news was the reshuffling of tenants at the Port. Back in February 2022, TraPac Jacksonville, which was wholly owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, elected to pull out of the Port and its 158-acre terminal was acquired by Ceres Terminals. In conjunction, Ceres inked a 20-year $45 million lease with JAXPORT. Ceres also agreed to $15 million in terminal upgrades as part of the deal. Ceres already operates JAXPORT intermodal (ICFT) at Dames Point.

ZIM Integrated Shipping Services calls on SSA Marine, JAXPORT.

In July 2022, JAXPORT’s Board of Directors approved a long-term, $62 million agreement with Blount Island terminal operator, Trailer Bridge. A Jacksonville-based company, Trailer Bridge provides twice-weekly barge service between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico.

Under the agreement, which takes effect at the end of 2023, Trailer Bridge will remain at Blount Island through at least 2041. The lease parallels Trailer Bridge’s lease with the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA). Trailer Bridge will also expand its leasehold at Blount Island by an additional two acres, bringing its total acreage to approximately 34 acres.

In 2021, JAXPORT signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the PRPA to affirm the ongoing work of both organizations to grow maritime trade between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico. JAXPORT handles 90% of the sea borne trade between the United States and Puerto Rico and besides Trailer Bridge, Tote Maritime Puerto Rico, and Crowley Maritime provide connecting services to Puerto Rico.

The overarching event in 2022 for JAXPORT was the completion of the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project – which deepened 11 miles of the shipping channel from the sea buoy to Blount Island – to a depth of 47 feet from its previous depth of 40 feet. The 47-foot harbor provides the channel depth needed for larger ships to call Blount Island as well as enabling existing ships of Jacksonville to call more fully laden. The project also included a new turning basin enabling larger vessels to turn around at Blount Island berths.

In December 2022, ZIM Integrated Shipping Services, which calls on SSA Marine, upsized its ships going to Jacksonville by using two larger 11,700-TEU ships and two larger 11,923-TEU vessels. The Zim service calls on ports in China, South Korea, and Jamaica, which were the first to use [Zim Newark and Zim Rotterdam] the larger turning basin.

In October of 2022, JAXPORT became the first port of call for Sea Lead Shipping Pte Ltd and T.S. Lines on their revised Asia East Coast (AEC) container service. The AEC, a partnership between Singapore-based Sea Lead and Hong Kong-based T.S. Lines, began calling JAXPORT in the summer of 2022 with Jacksonville as the last U.S. port of call. The current AEC rotation calls ports in the Northeast U.S. and mid-Atlantic before moving south and ending in Jacksonville. In September 2022, Sea Lead and T.S. Lines reversed the current rotation where Jacksonville became the AEC’s first U.S. port of call. The new port rotation will be Nansha, Ningbo, Shanghai, and Qingdao in China; Busan, South Korea; Manzanillo, Mexico; Jacksonville, Fla.; Charleston, SC; Norfolk, Va.; and Newark, NJ.

In January, the Port also notched a service from a new European carrier. U.K.-based Ellerman City Liners now calls direct at JAXPORT with three destinations in Europe. Ellerman will begin calling the SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal at JAXPORT’s Blount Island Marine Terminal. The bi-weekly service offers premium transit times of 13 to 17 days from North Europe to Jacksonville. The port rotation will be Antwerp, Belgium; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Tilbury, England; New York, NY; Wilmington, NC; and Jacksonville, Fla.

Although the container business has drawn a lot of attention, in April 2022 JAXPORT and Southeast Toyota Distributors (SET) announced a $210 million agreement to relocate and expand company’s vehicle processing operations. SET, the world’s largest independent distributor of Toyota vehicles, is a subsidiary of Deerfield Beach, Florida-based JM Family Enterprises. SET will relocate operations from its 50-acre facility at JAXPORT’s Talleyrand Marine Terminal and an adjacent 23-acre private facility into a single 88-acre property at JAXPORT’s Blount Island Marine Terminal. Combining operations at Blount Island creates operational efficiencies and additional space for SET to accommodate more vehicles. The agreement is for 25 years with three additional five-year renewal options. The public-private partnership includes a nearly $180 million lease with JAXPORT and an additional $16.5 million from SET to modernize the Blount Island terminal. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will also provide a $16.5 million grant to assist with terminal development. SET will remain at its current Talleyrand location until construction on the new facility is complete in late 2024. Jacksonville handles in excess of 550,000 annually.

Port of Fernandina
The Port of Fernandina is a breakbulk port specializing in forest products.

Port of Fernandina

The Port of Fernandina is largely a breakbulk port specializing in forest products. In 2022 the Port handled over 300,000 tons of breakbulk/bulk commodities with wood pulp at 138,960 tons leading the way, Kraft Liner Board hitting 83,701 tons, and plywood at 64,190 tons being the top commodities.

In May 2022, the Port of Fernandina named David Kaufman president of Checkmate Consulting, a port industry veteran who formerly had a 25-year career as senior director at JAXPORT. Shortly, after his appointment, David Kaufman said of the appointment, “The Executive Director job, I think, is critical to the future of the Port of Fernandina.” Adding, “I believe that the vast majority of my employment history has geared me toward this type of position.”

Kaufman’s career in ports, included jobs that involved just about every aspect of port operation. “I’m ready to get started with little-to-no learning curve,” Kaufman said. “There’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s an exciting opportunity, and one I look forward to working with each of you – both individually and collectively – to make sure that the goals of OHPA (Ocean Highway and Port Authority) are met, and that the community’s goals and objectives are met as well.” Kaufman already had worked with the Port of Fernandina, as Checkmate Consulting provided business development services to the OHPA, and he served as a strategic master plan advisor to the Authority. A draft of the OHPA Port of Fernandina 10-Year Strategic Master Plan was released in January and among the notable bullet points was the decision to work with the Terminal Operator to expand inland port facilities to increase productivity. And that the Port would also “continue to pursue marine highway opportunities to reduce traffic impacts” along with a look at ways “to utilize rail for the transport of cargo to and from the Port of Fernandina.”

Port Canaveral
In March 2022, Port Canaveral, broke ground on a $48 million project to rebuild Port Canaveral’s North Cargo Berth 3.

Port Canaveral

Port Canaveral, like Jacksonville and other Florida ports is gearing up for the next deluge of freight. In March 2022, Port Canaveral, broke ground on a $48 million project to rebuild Port Canaveral’s North Cargo Berth 3 (NCB3). The Port Canaveral Cargo Berth Rehabilitation and Modernization project is a critical component of the Port’s capital investment strategy to ensure it remains in a competitive position to serve the Central Florida region.

“This groundbreaking is the start of a new chapter for Port Canaveral,” stated Capt. John Murray, port director and CEO. “This berth project is critical to expand our abilities to accommodate a growing and very diverse cargo business portfolio. After a couple of difficult years, it’s great to be back and, once again, building our future on a solid foundation of current business and a wide horizon of new opportunities.”

Built in 1976, North Cargo Berth 3 has been out of service since 2014. The original over water pier design in combination with the increasing size of today’s commercial vessels and the Port’s growing cargo diversity had made the berth functionally obsolete. Demolition of the existing pier began in December 2021; it will be replaced with an 880-foot-long multi-purpose wharf that ensures the necessary channel width to accommodate larger vessels simultaneously at berth. At its September 2021 meeting, the Canaveral Port Authority (CPA) awarded a $48.07 million contract to Titusville, Fla.-based RUSH Marine, LLC for the NCB3 project. Total development cost of the Port Canaveral Cargo Berth Rehabilitation and Modernization project is $48 million. The CPA was awarded a $14 million 2019 Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Maritime Administration (MARAD). The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is supporting the project with $33 million in state grant funding.

In October 2022, Port Canaveral signed an agreement with the Liebherr Group to acquire another mobile harbor crane from the company to support the Port’s growing cargo operations. The 320-foot-tall Liebherr LMH 600 is the second mobile harbor crane to be deployed at Port Canaveral and is part of a new mobile harbor crane product line recently launched by Liebherr. The Port’s first, a Liebherr LMH 600, was entered into service in early 2019. In August, the Canaveral Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved the $7.4 million acquisition cost for the new crane, which will be offset by a $2.8 million grant from the FDOT.

Built by German-based Liebherr Group, the LMH 600 is a 128-wheeled, 696-ton crane that will be 74-tons heavier than the Port’s current LMH 600. The new crane will have lift capability up to 154 tons and a jib length of 200 feet. Its 20-container reach will accommodate containers stacked nine high on deck an upgraded handling capability from the previous model generation and its undercarriage will have 32 axel sets compared to 26. A new crane control system, advanced sensor integration and digital information transmission can enable future assistance and partial automation systems.

Blue Water Industries, a national bulk materials supplier, has entered into an agreement with Port Canaveral terminal operator Ambassador Services International (ASI) to import between 400,000 to 800,000 metric tons annually of various sized aggregate through Port Canaveral. Scheduled deliveries of the products originating in eastern Canada will arrive at Port Canaveral monthly and distributed throughout Florida and the southeastern US for use in roadway construction projects. The first load of cargo, 52,000 metric tons was discharged from the M/V Valor on January 1st 2023.

Port Canaveral has a long history of handling a broad mix of bulk and breakbulk cargos, including aggregates, petroleum products, lumber and building materials, and other commodities. Cargo throughput numbers at the Port have been steadily increasing year over year, hitting new high volumes of tonnage in the last fiscal year (2022).

Port Everglades

Port Everglades fell one day short of beating its own annual record for containerized cargo volumes in Fiscal Year 2022 (ending September 30, 2022). The ships that would have taken Port Everglades over the top were delayed when the port closed to prepare for Hurricane Ian in late September. Those delayed ships offloaded on October 1, at the start of the new fiscal year and one day too late to claim a new record.
“It’s frustrating that we were just 919 containers short of breaking our 2018 record but gratifying to know that these high volumes translate into successes for our customers and greater economic benefits for the region,” Port Everglades Chief Executive Officer and Port Director Jonathan Daniels said of the circumstance.
Port Everglades moved a total of 1,107,546 TEUs in FY2022, up 7% from FY2021, according to the Port’s unaudited end-of-fiscal-year report.

“We expected to eventually return to normal cargo levels by the end of the year, and were pleasantly surprised by additional volumes from MSC, Maersk and CMA CGM,” Daniels said. “The new business can be attributed to increasing consumer demand in Florida and the Port’s intermodal assets to efficiently move goods into the marketplace. We may also be seeing some opportunity from services that have been impacted by congestion at other ports.”

On a calendar year-to-date basis, trade at Port Everglades was valued at $21.45 billion, an increase of 23.92% through September, according to the WorldCity trade analysis website. Exports totaled $10.66 billion, up 25.07% while imports were valued at $10.79 billion, up 22.8%.

The Port also added a direct shipping service to the Far East for the first time since 2011.

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) launched its new Zephyr service in the summer of 2022 with direct weekly connections from northern China and South Korea to the Southeast United States. The Zephyr service includes a direct call to Port Everglades, which previously had only been offered via transshipment. The service route goes from Shanghai to Ningbo, Busan, Cristobal, Houston, Port Everglades, Savannah, Lazaro Cardenas, and back to Shanghai.

On November 18th, 2022, PortMiami welcomed a call by the CMA CGM Osiris, a Neo-Panamax vessel and, the largest container ship to dock at PortMiami.


PortMiami made a number of significant moves during 2022, and none more important than appointing Hydi Webb as director. On March 10th, 2022, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava made the move official. Webb had served as Deputy Port Director from February 2018 to January 2022 before being tapped as Interim Port Director. Throughout her career at PortMiami, Webb has held several executive positions, including Manager of Advertising & Public Relations, Manager of Cruise Development, Manager of Business Development, Assistant Director of Business Development and Marketing, and Deputy Director. As Mayor Daniella Levine Cava expressed the appointment, “Hydi Webb is beyond qualified to take over operation of PortMiami and shepherd it into a new era of success.”

And in 2022 the Port experienced considerable success as witnessed by the increased size in the boxships calling the PortMiami. For example, on November 18th, 2022, the Port welcomed a call by the CMA CGM Osiris, a Neo-Panamax vessel and, the largest container ship to dock at PortMiami. The 15,536 TEU’s Osiris is currently on the Manhattan Bridge shipping route connecting China to U.S. East Coast Ports. Mayor Daniella Levine Cava noted the importance of the larger ship calls, saying, “As an alternative to West Coast traffic, PortMiami offers shippers the advantage of open express access to deep-water docks, super post-Panamax electric cranes, a port tunnel with direct highway access, and a national freight rail connection reaching most of the U.S. within four days, in addition to its daily link to Latin America and the Caribbean.”

In August, The Port of Miami was also awarded an important grant. PortMiami received a grant from the U.S. DOT for $16 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant for its NetZero: Cargo Mobility Optimization and Resiliency Project. The NetZero Program is a plan to convert the entire cargo movement – supply chain – to a carbon neutral operation, from PortMiami’s channel to its final distribution site. The RAISE grant will help fund PortMiami’s intermodal rail expansion by adding two rail tracks and three new electric rubber-tired gantry cranes. Grant funding also provides for the installation of LED lights and the reconstruction of the stormwater drainage system to address sea level rise. In addition, the program will support cargo gate improvements, including roadway realignments, gate canopies, and technology upgrades. Improved access and staging for trucks and new gate technology upgrades will allow for faster movement of goods and reduced dwell time for trucks.