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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Mar. 27, 201212:00 PM EST

Port expects Mile Point design and transfer project construction to be completed by end of 2014

by: Joe Wilhelm Jr.

The Jacksonville Port Authority plans to complete the design to correct navigational issues at Mile Point as well as construction of its Intermodal Container Transfer Facility at its Dames Point Marine Terminal by the end of 2014.

JPA Chief Operating Officer Chris Kauffmann provided an update about the Mile Point project to the port board of directors at its monthly meeting Monday.

Tidal conditions at Mile Point limit the travel of cargo vessels in and out of the port to two four-hour windows daily. The proposed construction project would expand that time.

“We are ready, along with the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers, to do the design for the Mile Point project,” said Kauffmann.

The design of the project will cost about $2 million with about $1.4 million funded by the Corps of Engineers and $525,000 from the port.

The port is pursuing design of the project while the Corps of Engineers prepares to send the final report to Washington, D.C.

The Corps of Engineers’ final action “before it gets into the political arena” is the “Chief of Engineers Report,” which is expected to be submitted to the federal Office of Management and Budget before being sent to the appropriate committees of the U.S. House and


“We are hoping for authorization and appropriation for construction. We have alternatives if we don’t get that authorization,” Kauffmann said.

“There is a mechanism for the port once 100 percent design is completed that we can carry on that work in partnership with the Corps, but we could be the lead,” he said.

“I think we all feel pretty confident that we can get this project completed, looking at the end of 2014 as a target date,” he said.

Roy Schleicher, JPA executive vice president, told the board the port is working with two customers to complete the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility.

The facility is a project designed to move cargo from ship to rail, eliminating the need for trucks to haul it to a shipping transfer yard.

“Cambridge Terminals and Cemex, we are working with them right now. Cemex is giving up some property. Without that space we couldn’t make it work,” said Schleicher. “In return we are working with them to redo their contracts.”

Schleicher also discussed a tariff plan that would develop a fund for repairs at the port. Tariffs would be placed on containers using port rail lines.

Schleicher said the tariffs would be nominal, but they would help develop a source to fund repairs.

The port also is partnering with CSX and Seaonus, a Jacksonville-based logistics company, to develop a bigger presence at Intermodal South America, a trade show April 10-12 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“It’s the largest trade show in South America. They see 4,000-5,000 people a day. We attended by ourselves for years, but when we walked the floor and looked at what other countries and ports were doing, we learned that joining forces is the only way to do it right,” said Raul Alfonso, senior director of trade development and marketing.

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