My Feverish Argument For JAXPORT Harbor Deepening

November 15, 2013 23 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville's Robert Mann expresses his opinion of why dredging the St. Johns River is critical to the future survival of JAXPORT.

For some time the debate has raged about the 'real need' for us to deepen the St. Johns to fifty feet. The argument is and has been that we don't need to try and compete with Savannah, New York or even Miami, all of which are pushing to dredge to fifty feet. We can always be the port of the standard 7-8,000 TEU (TEU=shipping containers 20' feet long, as a standard of measurement) ships such as those that call on JAXPORT and Savannah today.
My counter argument has been that there will not be any 7-8,000 TEU vessels left in any quantity for us to even bother with developing our port.  While it is true that the 'value added' route has worked well in Savannah, if we don't move along with this process, 'value added' will be a moot subject in Jacksonville.

Savannah struck gold and soared past us several years ago for two reasons, value added and heavy state investment. Value added means they have gone out and focused on added logistical services at the port, which is major focal point of a multi-functional and integrated port. Logistic service providers are committed to delivering high added value to goods, providing true tailor-made logistics solutions for specific needs.

Examples of these needs include: • ripening  • quality control • sorting • (re)packing and (re)palletizing • order picking • stock management • labeling • stuffing and stripping of containers, directly available at  container terminals and  warehouses, as well as Increased transparency of the supply chain.

Port service providers need to employ modern track and tracing systems, enabling you to follow each product individually. In addition, the port should instate a Port Community System through which different partners in the supply chain can exchange documents and optimize planning processes.

The port itself needs seven things that could put us as number one in a unique intermodal way, as well as a very small item that could take us to number one in another category.

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