News & Updates

Northeast Florida’s Port System Services the Globe

By: JAXUSA Partnership

Northeast Florida has been known as America’s Logistics Center for decades and a critical component of that designation is the range of the maritime landscape in the region. The area’s connectivity – three major interstates, four railroads and a world-class international airport system – is strategically complemented by a port system that services the globe and a variety of industries.

As Northeast Florida continues to grow, investments pour into the region’s waterways, highlighted by the recent announcement by The Great Lakes Towing Company to roll out a breakbulk and RoRo shipping business serving the Caribbean that will reestablish the Port of Fernandina as an integral part of this supply chain. The Port of Fernandina, nestled in Nassau County and operated by Nassau Marine Terminal, has long been a vital gateway for cargo entering and exiting Florida’s northeast region. The company said it has partnered with terminal operators in the Port of Fernandina and San Juan, PR to receive, load, discharge and store weather sensitive cargo in on-dock warehouses.

“We provide fully-integrated, vessel-to-door solutions at the Port of Fernandina, and we’re excited to work with Great Lakes East, LLC to renew port services for the Crimson Clover barge in the Jacksonville region and help strengthen our connection with Caribbean markets,” said Kyle Clark, General Manager at Nassau Marine Terminal. “As a smaller port in a strategically-advantaged location, we’re able to provide more time, attention and customization that adds value for shippers and their customers.”

Other ports of call in the region are seeing expansion as well. In Putnam County, the port has contributed to the state’s transportation network, leveraging its unique inland waterway access to facilitate the movement of bulk commodities and oversized cargo. Port Putnam recently received a Port Infrastructure Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to revitalize the existing barge port into a regional intermodal cargo hub.

“With the current regional growth, the raising of the Shands bridge as part of FDOT’s First Coast Expressway development and local manufacturers needs for lower cost transportation for raw materials and finished goods, we have been working with multiple agencies to revitalize the port, have its accessway dredged to a desired depth and redesign the facility to accommodate tomorrow’s business needs,” said Sam Sullivan, Putnam County Port Manager.

In Clay County, the Reynolds Park/Clay County Port has emerged as a burgeoning economic asset, also poised to capitalize on its prime location along the St. Johns River. Reynolds Park is a 1700-acre complex located in Green Cove Springs and is served by railroad, highway, water and a private airport. The park also includes a yacht center for freshwater storage, hurricane protection and yacht service. With its robust infrastructure and ample acreage, the park has attracted interest from businesses seeking efficient multimodal transportation solutions.

“Clay County is home to an 11% veteran population that brings a tremendous work ethic and technical aptitude to support the needs of our strong manufacturing sector,” said Laura Pavlus, Clay Economic Development Corporation SVP. “The Clay County Port in Reynolds Industrial Park supports many significant manufacturing businesses such as Front Runner Boats, Genplant, Fox Manufacturing and Pegasus. Directly south of the port is also the headquarters of Mobro Marine who capitalize on the waterfront for their barge and crane operations.”

The economic convergence of these three maritime assets, in addition to JAXPORT, represents a transformative opportunity to leverage the strengths and create synergies of the region’s transportation and logistics ecosystem. As stakeholders from the public and private sectors come together to chart the course for the future, the Jacksonville region’s port system is primed to chart a course towards long-term economic growth and prosperity.