News & Updates

JAXPORT flexes economic muscle, citing new study

By Drew Dixon, Florida Politics

The Jacksonville Port has a far-reaching impact on the Northeast Florida economy not only among the goods imported and exported at the coastal hub, but among statewide jobs as well, according to a new study.

JAXPORT commissioned the study that shows the port accounts for $33 billion in annual economic output and is responsible for nearly 207,000 jobs across Florida. The study was conducted by the maritime research company Martin Associates based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The past half decade has been a particularly productive era for JAXPORT, the study concluded. That impact was not limited to the First Coast and had “double-digit growth in the port’s total statewide job impact over the last five years.”

The statewide impact on jobs was attributed to cargo activity that goes through JAXPORT to other areas of Florida. In the Jacksonville area alone, the analysis found there are 28,194 jobs that are directly or indirectly associated with JAXPORT.

Those local jobs provide an average annual salary of $76,356, which far exceeded the annual average income of Floridians at $55,980.

Much of the successful growth of JAXPORT, the study found, was attributed to the massive project of deepening the shipping channels in the St. Johns River. The most recent element of that project was completed in 2022 when the Blount Island Terminal channels were deepened from 40 feet to 47 feet deep.

That project alone cost $419.5 million in federal and other funds. The deeper channels allow larger cargo ships to enter Jacksonville’s port. There were other areas of shipping channels in Jacksonville that were deepened for a total of about 11 miles of channel modifications since 2018.

“The investment in port infrastructure and the initiation of the St. Johns River deepening project has resulted in job growth over the 2018-2023 period,” the report concluded. “This type of investment has led to increased diversification of the markets and cargoes served by JAXPORT, in turn providing high-paying jobs in the local community and generating state and local tax revenue.”

The study also gave a nod to Jacksonville’s cruise industry. The cruise ship terminals are located within eyeshot of the Blount Island cargo terminals.

Jacksonville’s cruise industry alone accounted for $211 in local economic impact and about 870 jobs related to that field. The analysis projected there will be another 336 cruise industry jobs added in 2025 when Norwegian Cruise Line begins operating at the Jacksonville cruise terminal.

That will also add more passengers to an already burgeoning cruise industry in Jacksonville which saw 195,000 passengers sail out of JAXPORT in 2023, the study found.