The Board of the Jacksonville Port Authority (Jaxport) has awarded a US$48.8 million construction services contract to Superior Construction Company LLC for the expansion and modernisation of SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal at Blount Island, Florida.

The construction contract covers the first seven of eight phases or 311,608 m² of the total 376,357 m² capacity expansion project which will cost a total of US$72 million. The reason why the project will be conducted in phases is for the terminal to remain open and operational throughout construction, according to a statement.

Upon completion of the project which is planned in 2024, the SSA terminal will be able to host up to 500,000TEU annually, an increase of 150% over the facility’s current throughput, while the port’s total TEU capability will grow to nearly two million TEU a year, which constitutes an increase of more than 40%.

Terminal upgrades at Florida’s largest container port include measures to accommodate taller stacks of containers, new facility gates and entryways to improve traffic flow. Other additions include investments such as new electrical and fire suppression systems.

Jaxport and SSA have entered into a 25-year lease on the terminal in 2019.

“Our partners at the federal government together have made this public-private partnership possible” claimed Jaxport CEO, Eric Green who went on to conclude, “The investment in our facilities helps maximise the return on investment of the deepening project for our community, and enables us to bring more cargo—and the jobs and businesses that come with it—to Northeast Florida.”

The US$72 million capacity expansion project is also funded in part through a US$20 million grant from the US Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD), while it has a Jacksonville Small and Emerging Business (JSEB) participation goal of 17%, with about US$12.2 million of the total project cost targeted for completion by area small businesses.

“As completion of the deepening project nears, this facility offers an expanded and highly productive international container terminal that’s ready to handle the growing demands of cargo owners and shipping lines looking to take advantage of the efficiencies the region offers,” stated the president of SSA Conventional, Mark Knudsen.

The federal project to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel to 14.3 meters, which includes the construction of a vessel turning basin, will be completed through Blount Island in 2022. More than US$100 million in berth improvements will enable the facility to simultaneously accommodate two post-Panamax ships will be completed in coordination with the deepening project.

Source: Container News