Largest containership to enter Florida port stopped at Jaxport

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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

 

Major milestone for Jaxport: Deepening project receives first-ever federal construction dollars

Although the funding is just a fraction of the estimated $700 million or more the entire project will cost, it does represent a major milestone, as this is the first time Washington, D.C., has stepped forward with money for the deepening itself..

JaxportWe’ve crossed the goal line on this one,” said Eric Green, Jaxport’s interim CEO. “The entire conversation now has changed.”

In total, Florida has $238.3 million committed in the work plan. As well as the deepening money, North Florida projects include $3.2 million for beach nourishment in Nassau County and $3.3 million for nourishment in St. Johns County.

For Jaxport, the funding represents the culmination of a fight that has been going on for years, as the area first struggled to get the work authorized and then fought to get the money to pay for it. The deeper draft is necessary to bring fully laden container ships in at all tide levels, particularly when dealing with the larger ships that are now going through the Panama Canal.

The port embarked on the pre-construction, engineering and design phase of the project in 2014 — which also received federal funds — setting the stage for actual construction.

Plenty of unanswered questions still remain, including what the total price tag will be — the authority has mooted various options for the deepening project — and where the rest of the money will come from.

Green was unable to say exactly when those answers would be nailed down. In April, the City Council — one likely funding partner — asked for hard numbers by the beginning of June but agreed that that was not a hard deadline.

On Wednesday, Green committed to having answers “definitely” before the end of the year, with an eye toward work beginning in late 2017 or early 2018.

“We have this incredible vote of support from the federal government,” Port Authority spokesman Nancy Rubin said. “We still have to fully define the plan for the community.”

When the plan is rolled out, Green said, it will be fully formed, laying out exactly how much of the river will be dredged and where the funding will come from for each of the four phases the work is expected to be split into.

“We’re not going to start the project until we can show we have all the funding,” he said.

Crowley begins construction of new LNG bunker facility at Jaxport

       Courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal reporter Junior Skeeple.

   Crowley Maritime Corp. and Eagle LNG Partners recently began construction of a new shore-side, liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility at Jaxport’s Talleyrand Marine Terminal. The LNG bunker fueling facility will serve Crowley’s new Commitment Class, LNG-powered, combination container/Roll-on Roll-off ships, which are under construction for use in U.S to Puerto Rico trade.

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Within the month, Chart Industries is expected to deliver two of its new, 1-million liter Decinske Giant cryogenic tanks for LNG storage at the site. Crowley is investing more than $550 million in two new innovative ships, along with a new 900-foot pier. Also, Crowley has invested in three new gantry cranes and improvements at its Isla Grande terminal in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

      The start of construction marks a milestone as we continue making progress with our partners, supplier Eagle LNG and Chart Industries, manufacturer of cryogenic storage tanks,” said Matt Jackson, vice president of Crowley, LNG. “LNG will provide a cleaner, efficient fuel source for our industry-leading Commitment Class ships, and our new JAXPORT bunkering terminal will support efficient operations with state-of-the art technology for bunkering operations.”

Crowley’s LNG and logistics groups are supporting construction of the Jacksonville facility by providing engineering expertise and transportation solutions for the equipment at the site. The facility will serve as the fueling station for the LNG-powered ships.

Weighing 260 tons, each cryogenic storage tank holds enough LNG to cover an average family’s electricity demand for 1,000 years. The tanks are en route to Jacksonville from Europe.

“Because of its multiple benefits, including being cleaner for the environment, we expect LNG demand for ship fuel to increase to 30 million tons a year by 2030. We recognize Crowley’s leadership as an early adopter of this fuel,” said Eagle LNG President, Sean Lalani.

The combination container/Roll-on Roll-off ships will begin service in the second half of 2017 and first half of 2018. The ships, which are some of the world’s first to be powered by LNG, are designed to travel at speeds up to 22 knots and carry containers ranging in size from 20-foot standard to 53- foot-long, 102-inch-wide, high-capacity units, along with hundreds of vehicles in enclosed, weather-tight car decking.

Jaxport Board approves purchase of land needed to deepen river

courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal reporter Junior Skeeple

 

jaxort1The Jaxport Board approved the purchase of conservation land needed for its deepening project.  Jaxport is pushing for local, state and federal funding for the almost $700 million project. The Jaxport Board voted unanimously to approve the purchase of two parcels of land totaling 53 acres. The cost of the land was about $457,000.

The port is purchasing more than 14.8 of the total 53 acres from JEA and the remaining 38.4 acres jointly owned by JEA and Florida Power & Light Co.  The board also approved $1.5 million in funding for preparation and monitoring work in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will manage the project to deepen 13 miles of the river. The work includes $608,000 for contract administration, design, procurement and construction, and $936,500 for environmental monitoring.

The port is sharing the costs with the Army Corps, which is overseeing the design and construction of the project.  The port authority included $46.6 million in its current operating budget to begin the dredging work. The money for dredging includes $31.6 million from the state and $15 million in port financing.

The deepening of the river would allow Jaxport to accommodate larger ships with more cargo. Both Savannah and Charleston, two major competitors for Jaxport, have begun dredging projects. Deepening the river in Jacksonville would keep Jaxport competitive with other southeast ports.

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.