Largest containership to enter Florida port stopped at Jaxport


MOL Bravo, the largest ship to port in Florida, at Jaxport.

The largest containership to ever visit a Florida port stopped June 24 at Jaxport and the TraPac Container Terminal at Dames Point.

The 10,100 container vessel MOL Bravo came from Asia via the Suez Canal. The cargo ship was not filled to capacity because it would sit too deep in the water

In May, the federal government committed $21.5 million to a project that would deepen the channel to 47 feet, which would accommodate more cargo-laden ships that sit deeper in the water. Construction is slated to begin early in 2018.

“When our harbor is deepened to 47 feet, a ship like the MOL Bravo will move twice as much cargo in and out of Jaxport,” said Dennis Kelly, regional vice president and general manager of TraPac Jacksonville


JIA Ranks No. 1 in customer service among North American airports

courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal reporter Junior Skeeple

Jacksonville International Airport is ranked No. 1 in customer service among North American airports in 2016, according to the Airports Council International.

ACI, the trade association of airports, awarded JAX airport the award as a part of the Airport Service Quality Awards.

delta-air-lines_750xx2700-1519-0-253JIA also ranked third worldwide for ASQ’s “Best Airport by Size” in the five to 15 million annual passengers category. This marks the first time JIA airport received this distinction.

These awards validate our team approach to customer service where the entire airport community has a stake in our travelers’ experience,” Jacksonville Aviation Authority CEO Steve Grossman said. “It also confirms the value of listening to our travelers and adapting to their needs.”

The ASQ program is unique as the airport industry’s only global benchmarking program measuring overall satisfaction of passengers at the airport. Implemented at over 320 airports worldwide, the ASQ is a statistically-valid survey of passengers at the airport. The in-depth survey covers 30 areas of the customer service experience including check-in, security, wayfinding, and food and beverage. The resulting database allows for a comprehensive analysis of the customer service experience at each participating airport.

JIA tied with Indianapolis and Toronto Billy Bishop Airports for first place among North American airports. JIA also tied with Amman, Chiang Mai, Cochin, and Indianapolis airports for third place in the best airport by size category.

DHS approves Jax tech firm to improve port security

By Junior Skepple  Reporter Jacksonville Business Journal

nativecyberresolutions_750xx3457-1955-0-497idSoftware, an identification software company with offices in Jacksonville, has earned approval from the Department of Homeland Security for its SecureGate Ports technology. The identification software provides ports and port tenants with electronic security that can read and verify a worker’s credential, minimizing the chances of unauthorized personnel in secure areas.

The Business Journal spoke with the President and CEO of idSoftware, Jim Strey, and asked him how the software works and how many ports are using the new technology.

How does the technology work?

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is what employees need to enter a secured area of a port. Before our technology the TWIC card was seen as a “flash pass.” It was something that would be seen by a security guard from feet away with no real way of authenticating the card. The TWIC card now contains silos of information and certificates on the card that have to be challenged. The software also checks the expiration date so that we know the TWIC card is current and it also checks the card against a list the TSA produces every night of cancelled cards.

Has unauthorized personnel gaining entrance in to secure areas at ports been an issue in the past?

Yes. The history of this goes all the way back to days after 9/11 when Congress enacted a law that stiffened who has access to the country’s ports. Before this electronic verification the process was as simple as showing up to a port and showing your card with no real verification. There were many instances before where people should not have been let on the port.

How many ports are using SecureGate technology?

There are approximately 100 ports and terminal operations using this technology. Our company has 44 ports and private operators using our SecureGate technology system, with four being in the state of Florida.

JAXPORT CEO talks about challenges facing the port in 2017

JAXPORT CEO Brian Taylor addressed a crowd of about 200 people Thursday at the University of North Florida, recapping 2016 and looking into the future at the port’s annual State of the Port Address.jax-port-cranes

Although JAXPORT had a record-setting year in terms of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) moved through the port, Taylor said he sees four main challenges facing the port in 2017 and beyond: Container alliances, global trade agreements, the political landscape, and the international economy, are concerns for the port that Taylor said leads to much uncertainty going forward.

In April of 2017, three major container partnerships, the Ocean Alliance, The Alliance, and the 2M Alliance will finalize their service operations and deployments. The partnerships will collectively control 87 percent of global container capacity in the world. All three of the alliances are currently operating out of JAXPORT, but their operations can change through altered trade agreements with the United States.

The Trump administration removed the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the renegotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are issues crucial to the success of JAXPORT. With Asian container movement through JAXPORT rising 19 percent in 2016, free trade between the U.S. and the Asian-Pacific region are imperative to the success of the JAXPORT.

“In the U.S. so many of the things we enjoy everyday can only be produced in the quantity and quality and the timeliness that we want them here in this market is in the Asian-Pacific region,” said JAXPORT CEO, Brian Taylor. “The opportunity lies in creating smarter trade agreements with better terms for all ensuring that global commerce can continue.”

China was also a big topic at the State of the Port address. Taylor said 17 percent of Chinese exports, roughly 4 percent of their gross domestic product, is tied to trade with the United States. He also said 24 percent of U.S. exports are moving through China. President Trump signing an executive order removing the U.S. from the TPP, has given China the opportunity to come to their own trade agreement with the 11 nations that were included in the TPP

JAXPORT’s new 100-gauge cranes are now operational at the Blount Island Marine Terminal.


Courtesy of

The new container cranes are equipped to service wider, post-Panamax vessels with the ability to reach across 22 containers, a significant increase from the 16 container capabilities of the terminal’s current cranes. Each electric crane works on regenerative power, consuming power during the lifting of containers and creating energy as they lower. The use of electricity will increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions.

In 2014, JAXPORT awarded a $37.6 million contract to Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, Co. Ltd. (ZPMC), for the manufacturing, delivery and installation of the cranes. Shaw GVB, a subsidiary of Chicago Bridge and Infrastructure, provided engineering services before and during construction.

The Florida Department of Transportation awarded JAXPORT a $15 million grant toward the purchase.

JAXPORT’s long-term strategic plan calls for the purchase of a total of ten 100-gauge cranes for Blount Island in the next 10 years.

See photos from the cranes’ arrival

Check out our Cranes Fact Sheet

CSX announces move from Southpoint to Downtown Company plans to move 550 employees

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – CSX corp. announced that the company is consolidating its operations and seeking to shift at least 550 employees from its Southpoint facilities to a Southside or Downtown site, according to a report in the Daily Record.

The location would provide a “safe, comfortable accessible workplace that promotes collaboration in the best, most cost-effective facilities available,” CSX spokeswoman Melanie Cost said in a statement emailed late Monday.

If “all else were equal,” she said, that would mean bringing those employees to about 120,000 square feet of vacant space on the Northbank of the St. Johns River.

Cost said the employees work in the company’s finance, technology, labor relations and corporate real estate organizations.

According to a city report, the Downtown Investment Authority could offer a grant of more than $271,000 a year for five to seven years from its Northbank Tax Increment Financing Fund to the landlord CSX selects.

The incentives would have a $1.9 million maximum indebtedness to the Northbank Community Redevelopment Area, which operates the fund.

Such a deal would be contingent on CSX relocating a minimum of 550 employees Downtown and the company would have to provide written notice that it wouldn’t seek other city incentives for the move.

“They are sincere about looking Downtown,” DIA CEO Aundra Wallace said Tuesday morning.

“And with that sincerity, we are very sincere in bringing them here,” he said.

Wallace said CSX was adamant that a Downtown relocation be to the Northbank, where a few buildings could accommodate its need for 120,000 square feet of vacant space.

Wallace said those buildings include One Enterprise Center, the Bank of America Tower and the SunTrust Building, but he declined to say which buildings the DIA was reviewing for a move.

He said the authority was approached in mid-October about helping to facilitate a possible move. Wallace said he hopes to secure a deal in the first quarter, but is willing to work with the company for however long it takes.

In the statement, Cost said a move would be part of the company’s continued effort to help revitalize Downtown, where the company is based and owns two large structures.

One is the 17-story riverfront headquarters office building a predecessor company built in 1962 at 500 Water St. The other is the 14-story 550 Water St. building it bought two years ago.

Combined, they provide almost 690,000 square feet of space.

Cost said the company seeks to operate more efficiently and reduce overhead costs, which has led to the reconsolidation effort of two adjacent Southpoint buildings the company has occupied for more than 25 years.

Colliers International Northeast Florida represents the two properties, and principal Chuck Diebel said Monday the CSX lease expires in March 2018.

The 6735 Southpoint Drive facility is four stories at 135,404 square feet and the 6737 Southpoint Drive facility is three stories at 139,825 square feet.

CBRE real estate senior vice president Mike Harrell is representing CSX in the site relocation and said Monday the company was looking at buildings around the city for the functions.

“We’ve covered the gamut,” he said.

Source: confirms second Jacksonville center; two facilities will bring 2,700 jobs

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

A few minutes after midnight, Inc. confirmed what had been expected since July: It will open a second fulfillment center in Jacksonville that will add more than 1,000 jobs to the regional economy.

Employees at the 1 million-square-foot center in Cecil Commerce Center in West Jacksonville will pick, pack and ship large items like household decor, sporting equipment and gardening tools.

The 86-acre site already is being cleared at 13333 103rd St. in West Jacksonville.

Legislation shows the two centers will create 2,700 jobs and receive $26.7 million in taxpayer incentives.

“We think it’s a home run,” said district City Council member Doyle Carter this morning.

He said the Cecil center will draw workers from the Westside as well as Baker, Clay and Bradford counties. That means they will be buying gas and products in Duval, generating tax revenue for Jacksonville.

He also expects the two Amazon centers to “open a lot more doors” to introduce major companies to the area’s industrial parks.

Carter said companies are noticing Jacksonville and like its lifestyle.

“They found out how good Jacksonville is and how we have a great workforce,” he said.

Multiple centers mean larger investment

The prospect of a second center emerged as the Seattle-based e-commerce retailer announced July 27 it would open its first in Northwest Jacksonville at 12900 Pecan Park Road.

JAXUSA Partnership President Jerry Mallot said then that might not stop at just one fulfillment center in Jacksonville.

Signs strengthened in October when council approved $8.3 million in incentives for Project Velo and were confirmed in November when a building-permit application identified Amazon as the tenant at a project under development at Cecil.

Mayor Lenny Curry said in the Amazon news release this morning the development at Cecil is a “tremendous asset for our city.”

“I am looking forward to Amazon’s expanding presence in our city and contributions to its continued economic development and growth,” he said.

The Northwest Jacksonville facility is under construction and expected to open this fall. The 1,500 workers will pick, pack and ship small consumer items such as books, electronics and consumer goods.

Council approved $18.4 million in incentives for the facility. has opened multiple locations in several U.S. cities.

Aaron Bowman, senior vice president of JAXUSA Partnership and a council member, said in the release that landing a second facility in such a short amount of time “further solidifies the JAX region as a place of unlimited opportunity, fueled by possibilities.”

Together, the two centers represent a promised investment of $315 million — $200 million for Northwest Jacksonville and $115 million for Cecil.

During the past three years, the company has announced multiple facilities in Florida, including four fulfillment centers and two sortation centers, as well as Prime Now hubs in Miami, Tampa and Orlando.

It employs more than 4,000 workers in the state, the release said.

Mike Grissom, executive vice president of Enterprise Florida Inc., said the company has been one of the state’s best job creators since it announced its first project three years ago.

“This most recent project in Jacksonville is another great win for Florida and we thank Amazon for their continued investment and job creation,” Grissom said.

To qualify for the incentives, 500 of the 1,500 Northwest Jacksonville workers will be paid an average of $50,000 a year, while 325 of the 1,200 Cecil employees will make an average of $50,675.

Both centers will hire more workers for seasonal work during the holidays.

The bulk of the jobs are expected to pay $12 to $15 an hour, or about $25,000 to $31,000 a year.

As the Cecil Commerce Center land is being cleared, the city is reviewing a permit application for the building.

Although Amazon hasn’t said when the Cecil facility will open, Mallot said he expects it would be at the same time as the Northwest Jacksonville center.

That would be in time for the 2017 holiday season.

He said the first center uses more complex robotics for the smaller products while the second will be a more traditional center for the larger items and simpler to build.

Fort Worth-based Hillwood Investment Properties, the master developer at Cecil, will buy the land from the city for $8,819 an acre, or more than $758,000.

Hillwood is developing AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center.

The Conlan Co. is the contractor for both Jacksonville Amazon centers.

The multilevel Northwest Jacksonville center has a base footprint of 855,000 square feet and a total size of about 2.4 million square feet.

Those centers could draw employees from Northwest Jacksonville as well as north into Nassau County as well as west into Baker, Carter said.

Amazon also intends to operate a 63,000-square-foot delivery station in the Alta Lakes Commerce Center, nine miles east of the Pecan Park Road facility. No job count has been announced for that operation.

Attracting a workforce

Amazon says full-time employees receive competitive hourly wages and a comprehensive benefits package, including health care, 401(k) and company stock awards starting on Day One.

The company said it also offers employees programs like Career Choice, where it will prepay 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon.

Since the program’s launch four years ago, more than 7,000 employees in 10 countries have pursued degrees in fields such as game design and visual communications, nursing, information technology programming and radiology.

The company also recently announced a commitment to hire 25,000 military veterans and spouses in the U.S. during the next five years and train 10,000 in cloud computing.

To learn more about working at Amazon, visit

The company did not specify the number of jobs that will be created at Cecil, although the legislation says 1,200.

That would tie for the second-largest jobs announcement in the city’s history, according to JAXUSA Partnership figures.

JAXUSA, the economic development division of JAX Chamber,   said in July the 1,500 jobs at the first Amazon center represented the single largest job announcement in the city’s history.

It said the second largest number was 1,200 jobs announced by Citi in 1998 and Bank of America in 1997.

Even at “more than 1,000” jobs, the Cecil figure ties for better than third. Deutsche Bank announced 1,000 jobs in 2008 and Prudential did in 1997.

Candace Moody, vice president of CareerSource Northeast Florida, said this morning the group is putting together a strategy to make sure prospective employees understand what the jobs entail.

“We hope to get a chance to meet with the company to talk about a strategy of recruiting, especially young people,” she said.

Moody said a company that needs a lot of employees with a high school education is important, especially in Northwest and West Jacksonville.

“The jobs are going into just the right place, right in the sector that needs the economic boost,” she said.

Moody expects the company will attract employees from outside Duval County, but questions how far they would want to commute to make $12 an hour as gas prices rise.

Still, she said, “I do think we will find there are a lot of people who are very interested in these jobs.”


Attn: Logistics Professionals. How Do We Equip the Next Generation?

The world needs more data-driven, tech-savvy logisticians to manage the flow of goods and services in a technology-obsessed world – and that’s exactly where a pragmatic education can help. How can aspiring logistics professionals ensure their college program offers the curriculum and the resources they need to succeed? Check out this blog post followed by a great infographic at the end.

Here are the key components of an effective logistics education:

A STEM Education with Logistics Focus

There’s no substitute; logistics professionals need a strong STEM background. A STEM education equips its graduates with the hard and soft skills they’ll need to succeed in the logistics industry: data-driven thinking, technological know-how, a foundational understanding of logistics processes and a problem-solving mindset.

Cross-Disciplinary Curriculum

Logistics is all about interconnectedness and multi-faceted processes, and an impactful logistics education will explore multiple fields of study to teach this.

In logistics degree programs, students analyze the details of smaller logistics processes to prepare for the larger supply chains they may someday manage. This insight allows them to be better, more understanding leaders, who operate from a comprehensive perspective. Without a cross-disciplinary curriculum, students may fall into the trap of thinking too narrowly, and miss the big picture, which is an essential skill to lead in the logistics industry.

A varied course load also equips students with the soft skills necessary to thrive in the logistics field, including time management, team collaboration and business intelligence.

Hands-On Workforce Experience

In such a hands-on industry, there can be no gap between educational and practical applications. The ideal logistics education puts students into the industry as soon as possible. This pragmatic learning approach makes everything in the classroom more tangible, ensures students have no misconceptions about their field of study, and gives them a chance to apply their learning to real-world situations. If internships and industry connections aren’t built into a logistics degree, students won’t be prepared to jump into a career.

Future-Oriented Thinking and Creativity

At every stage in the educational process for logisticians, educators must encourage forward thinking and open-mindedness. Logistics professionals fuse data-driven insights with innovation to create more efficient, cost-effective processes; and in the future, logisticians must also be prepared to make bold changes to adapt to emerging technology.

Communication Skills

Regardless of your role in an organization, it’s important to be an effective communicator who works collaboratively with others. Since logistics professionals often act as a catalyst for change, great relationships with peers are even more crucial. Colleagues must trust logisticians to make decisions about processes that impact them and their organization. Building this trust and prioritizing clear communication are the human elements that make logistics innovation possible.

Familiarization with Industry Tech and Tools

Robots, drones, tracking technology, increasing automation and other cutting-edge technologies are increasingly prominent in production and distribution. It’s important for logistics students to practice with these technologies early so their understanding of these tools becomes second-nature by graduation. When it comes time to transition into the workforce, students who already understand the capabilities and limitations of technology are at an advantage. And it’s versatile: a technology-driven education prepares graduates for any number of STEM careers, including numerous logistics positions.

Overall, the single most important factor in preparing for a logistics career is education. A high-quality STEM education fine-tunes the skills logisticians are required to have, and it will incorporate the key components noted above.