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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jun. 27, 202212:16 PM EST

JaxPort signs lease extension with Trailer Bridge Inc.

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The Jacksonville-based carrier is a key cargo carrier between the port and Puerto Rico. 
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

The Jacksonville Port Authority board signed off on a 18-year, estimated $62 million lease agreement with shipping and logistics company Trailer Bridge Inc. that officials tout as reinforcing JaxPort’s service to Puerto Rico. 

The board voted 7-0 on June 27 to extend Jacksonville-based Trailer Bridge’s lease of 33.9 acres at the port’s Blount Island Terminal through January 2041. 

Trailer Bridge offers ocean, truckload, intermodal, expedited, specialized cargo, vehicles, warehousing and transloading services.

The carrier began operating at Blount Island in 1991, the year Trailer Bridge was founded. 

The company signed its existing 10-year lease with JaxPort in 2013 that allows the company to provide twice-weekly barge service between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico.

“Our partnership with JAXPORT began more than 30 years ago and today, we celebrate the next chapter in our commitment to serve the island of Puerto Rico,” Trailer Bridge CEO Mitch Luciano said in a news release. 

“We are proud to be a critical piece of the supply chain that delivers the goods our neighbors on the island need in their everyday lives.”

Jacksonville Port Authority leadership met in San Juan with Puerto Rico Ports Authority leaders June 16, 2021 during four-day business development trip to the island.

According to a board document, Trailer Bridge generates $2.5 million in annual revenue for JaxPort. The company is one of three carriers operating between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico. The others are Tote Maritime Puerto Rico and Crowley Maritime. 

The new lease, effective November 2023, runs parallel to a similar lease Trailer Bridge has with the Puerto Rico Ports Authority in San Juan.

Puerto Rico Ports Authority Executive Director Joel A. Pizá-Batiz attended a JaxPort board meeting in April 2021 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the port authority board to grow maritime trade between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico.

After the vote June 27, Pizá-Batiz said commercial trade between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico has remained smooth in 2022 despite port congestion on the U.S. West Coast.

Pizá-Batiz called the commercial trade relationship between Jacksonville and San Juan “robust and substantial,” which results in more than 800,000 containers moved between the two ports annually. 

“Thousands of business, jobs and economic activity in Puerto Rico, (the) Virgin Islands and the State of Florida depends on trade between our ports,” Pizá-Batiz said.

“Even from a national security standpoint, our trade is important when we consider the pharmaceutical products and medical devices that are part of this commercial exchange.”

According to Pizá-Batiz, Trailer Bridge operates four barges that operate in Puerto Rican trade, and 24% of all U.S. cargo bound for the island territory comes through that company. 

Luciano said in May that Trailer Bridge expects to surpass $350 million in revenue in 2022, up from $240 million in 2021.

He said Trailer Bridge is moving its logistics office in Jacksonville from 5011 Gate Parkway in JTB Center about 2 miles north to 4600 Touchton Road E., Building 200, in Deerwood North, to accommodate growth.

It has offices in Jacksonville; Atlanta; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Los Angeles; Nashville, Tennessee; Overland Park, Kansas; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Juan, Puerto Rico; the Dominican Republic; and two in Mexico.

Trailer Bridge owns more than 3,100 shipping containers, 2,500 chassis and works with 70 truck-owner operators. Also, 38,000 partner carriers deliver freight across the country.

Editor Karen Brune Mathis contributed to this report.

 

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