Schleicher made the comments Thursday during a "State of the Port" address to The Propeller Club of the United States, Port of Jacksonville. It met at the University of North Florida Herbert University Center.
Schleicher announced that Bahri, formerly National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia, will start service to Jacksonville in April. It is a roll-on/roll-off and break-bulk carrier with limited cargo that travels to the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent.
"It took us about 10 years, but we talked them into coming to Jacksonville. This is import and export for us. We definitely needed service in that area," said Schleicher.
Bahri's services have expanded to include transportation of general cargo, crude oil, chemical, liquefied petroleum gas and dry bulk. The company started its operations transporting general cargo and containers. Its corporate headquarters is in Riyadh City, Saudi Arabia's capital, and it has a general-cargo office in Baltimore.
Schleicher also told the group of about 100 that the port is confident it will announce another new arrival in March.
"We hope to have an announcement in March about a new VSA, vessel sharing agreement, group coming to the port, an Asian service coming through both the Suez and Panama canals," said Schleicher.
"It will bring us three new carriers that support this group. That will bring us to 15 of the top 20 carriers calling on our port," he said.
The announcement of the new shipping lines coming to Jacksonville followed news of the port's board of directors requesting a local option for the ability to dredge 14 miles of its shipping lane from the Atlantic Ocean to 47 feet instead of the 45 feet the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has recommended.
Schleicher also updated the group on the relocation of the headquarters of Höegh Autoliners to Jacksonville.
The regional office of the company was located on Blount Island and houses about 20 employees in a building that is about 5,000 square feet.
The port's real estate department is working with Höegh to find a new building for its headquarters. The company plans to house about 35 employees and wants a building with about 12,000 square feet. Höegh plans to be settled into the new office by summer.
Bahri General Cargo will be among several new shipping companies traveling into Jacksonville ports in the next few months, according to Jacksonville Port Authority interim CEO Roy Schleicher.