As consumers spend more time (and dollars) at home, ecommerce continues to drive growth at the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) and its vast network of transportation service providers in Northeast Florida.
The Wall Street Journal reports that trade lane shifts and ecommerce growth are driving more cargo to East Coast ports as retailers are looking for “faster and cheaper cargo movements.”
As Florida’s largest container port and global gateway into the Southeast U.S., JAXPORT offers speed to market for some of the world’s largest ecommerce operations.
Amazon recently made headlines when the company announced it is adding a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Jacksonville—its sixth facility in Northeast Florida—with the potential for more local facilities in the near future.
Northeast Florida’s thriving industrial real estate market serves as an indicator of how the region is positioning itself for continued success in ecommerce.
Over the last two years, 9 million square feet of industrial real estate space was built or under construction in the Jacksonville area, much of it within the last 12 months. More than a third of that space was leased by or sold to retailers engaged in ecommerce.
Online furniture retailer Article is one example of an ecommerce business that is thriving in Northeast Florida. The company, which opened a 300,000 square foot distribution center in Jacksonville in 2018 and imports through JAXPORT, reported its highest revenue month to date in April 2020, with sales up 200% compared to April 2019.
“Jacksonville’s port supports 138,000 jobs in Florida and more than $31 billion in annual economic output for our region and state,” said JAXPORT CEO Eric Green. “As businesses continue to grow and succeed in Jacksonville, it furthers our ability to create more jobs and economic opportunity for our community.”
Below are four reasons Jacksonville—America’s Logistics Center—benefits ecommerce shippers from large manufacturers to small startups and everything in between.
Port selection matters now, more than ever
The margin of error continues to shrink due to the on-time requirements that today’s ecommerce industry demands.
“Port selection is crucial, as it sets your supply chain up for success, especially for those ecommerce retailers looking to execute next day delivery,” says Aisha Eccleston, JAXPORT Director of Container Accounts.
JAXPORT’s location near 70 million consumers provides solutions—and savings—for ecommerce retailers looking for fast access to key markets such as Orlando and the rest of the I-4 corridor, Atlanta, Memphis, and Chicago.
Jacksonville’s location was the driving factor behind Amazon’s latest expansion in Northeast Florida.
“Building this site in Jacksonville gives us the opportunity to better serve our customers in the region,” Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s Vice President of Global Customer Fulfillment, said in a news release.
Find out more about how JAXPORT offers time- and cost-saving efficiencies in the final mile and beyond in this JAXPORT blog.
Investing for the future
JAXPORT continues to plan, prepare, and invest in its port facilities to meet the industry’s evolving demands.
The port’s single biggest growth initiative, the project to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel to 47 feet from its current depth of 40 feet, will allow larger ships to call on Jacksonville from destinations throughout the world with more cargo on board.
Deepening through JAXPORT’s Blount Island Marine Terminal is two years ahead of its original schedule, with anticipated completion in 2023.
Berth enhancements and facility upgrades are currently underway at Blount Island that will enable the terminal to simultaneously accommodate two post-Panamax vessels.
JAXPORT is investing more than $140 million to rebuild or modernize its container berths at its Blount Island and Talleyrand marine terminals. This multi-year project will be complete by the fall of 2021.
Sourcing shifts drive growth at JAXPORT
With uncertainty due to trade tariff policy and the global pandemic, ecommerce startups and large retailers alike are increasingly diversifying their supply chains and relocating or adding production in emerging markets, including Vietnam.
Over the past year, JAXPORT’s trade with Vietnam has increased by 63 percent.
Area logistics provider JZ Expedited Logistics is seeing a growth in demand for their services, as more ecommerce retailers take advantage of Jacksonville’s global connections.
“We are seeing increased volumes because of what JAXPORT is doing with their service offerings,” said the company’s Chief Operating Officer Chris Sloope.
JAXPORT’s Foreign Trade Zone drives ecommerce success
JAXPORT’s Foreign Trade Zone No. 64, Florida’s largest FTZ by area, continues to grow as businesses adjust to supply chain changes during COVID-19.
An FTZ allows shippers to reduce, eliminate, or delay import fees through more efficient filings.
Existing FTZ user Tapestry, Inc., the parent company of global accessory design house Coach Inc., recently expanded its FTZ No. 64 usage in response to supply chain disruptions stemming from the pandemic, activating an additional 35,000 sq. ft. of its existing Jacksonville distribution space.
“You can’t stop a large supply chain on a dime,” said Ileana Klepeisz, FTZ Manager for Tapestry Inc. “We needed extra space to store product, while also minimizing costs. Getting additional FTZ space activated at an existing off-site location gave us a lot more flexibility in addressing the situation at a time when every penny counts.”
JAXPORT works with its service providers and regulatory partners to bring solutions to help facilitate trade and business—growing the region’s position as a global gateway into the Southeast U.S.
“Supporting international trade in Jacksonville creates valuable jobs here and helps make the area an important logistics center,” Klepeisz said.
Coming October 2020
Attend an online event hosted by JAXPORT at 11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 19 and dive deep into what drives ecommerce logistics success.
Visit jaxport.com/ecommerce to be notified once registration becomes available.