May was a record month for container volumes at JAXPORT, the Florida port serving the greater Jacksonville area and beyond.

Total container movements rose by 37% year-over-year in May to more than 128,900 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), beating a previous record of 123,700 TEUs set in October 2019.

For its 2021 fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, container volumes are up by 15% year-to-date to nearly 950,000 TEUs. 

Of that, JAXPORT’s two largest trade lanes for containers increased by double digits percentage-wise year-to-date. Volumes from Puerto Rico are up by 19% and volumes from Asia are 18% higher.

The port also said its automotive volumes are rebounding from supply chain disruptions that occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since October 2020, JAXPORT’s automotive volumes are 15% higher fiscal year-to-date, with the port moving 435,361 autos. This figure puts JAXPORT on pace to surpass 2020 volumes, according to the port.

JAXPORT describes itself as Florida’s largest container port by volume and one of the top vehicle-handling ports in the nation.

JAXPORT in midst of implementing 5-year strategic plan

May’s record container volumes comes as JAXPORT is in the middle of a five-year strategic plan that seeks to expand the port’s capacity to handle more container traffic. 

These expansion projects include berth enhancements and a federal project that will deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel through Blount Island from 40 feet to 47 feet. That deepening project will finish in 2022. JAXPORT is also planning to spend $72 million in phased yard improvements at Blount Island to allow for more containers there.

These efforts will allow JAXPORT to simultaneously accommodate two post-Panamax ships, the port said. JAXPORT has said it is seeking to grow its offerings for trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic services.

“The investments that we’re making in our port facilities ensure that we can continue to provide the efficient service our customers have come to expect from Jacksonville,” said JAXPORT CEO Eric Green in a release. “JAXPORT has developed a reputation in the marketplace for our ability to get vessels in and out of port quickly, a position we are proud to have maintained throughout the supply chain challenges that have impacted our industry over the last 18 months.”

In addition to the channel deepening, JAXPORT is also seeking to acquire property surrounding the port for more automotive processing and warehouse space for breakbulk and bulk products, according to its website

JAXPORT said on Monday that Moody’s Investor Service earlier this month gave the port an A2 credit rating due to the port’s diversity of business, generally stable revenue and “favorable long-term growth outlook for local and regional cargo markets in Florida and the Southeast.”

JAXPORT has access to 100 trucking firms and 40 daily trains run by CSX (NASDAQ: CSX), Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) and Florida East Coast Railway.

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