JaxPort awards $48.8 million contract for Blount Island improvements

The project will enable the terminal to accommodate additional shipping containers.

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JaxPort awarded a $48.8 million construction services contract Sept. 27 to Superior Construction Company LLC for terminal improvements.

JaxPort said in a news release that its board of directors unanimously approved the contract.

The improvements, part of a $72 million capacity expansion, will enable the SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal at Blount Island to accommodate additional containers. 

JaxPort said the upgrades will allow the facility to accommodate up to 500,000 TEUs (containers) annually, a 150% increase. It will boost JaxPort’s throughput to nearly 2 million TEUs a year, a 40% increase.

The contract covers the first seven of eight phases, or 77 acres, of the total $72 million, 93-acre capacity expansion project. 

Terminal upgrades include pavement improvements to accommodate taller stacks of containers and new facility gates and entryways to enhance traffic flow. 

Ari Steinberg, SSA Vice President of Project Engineering and Implementation, speaks at the JaxPort board of directors meeting Sep. 27. (JaxPort photo)
Ari Steinberg, SSA Vice President of Project Engineering and Implementation, speaks at the JaxPort board of directors meeting Sep. 27. (JaxPort photo)

Other additions include new electrical and fire suppression systems and LED lighting.

The terminal will remain open during the construction, planned to be completed in 2024.

SSA Conventional President Mark Knudsen said the improvements will enhance its capacity and capabilities in Jacksonville. The St. Johns River also is being deepened to accommodate larger ships.

“This facility offers an expanded and highly productive international container terminal that’s ready to handle the growing demands of cargo owners and shipping lines looking to take advantage of the efficiencies the region offers,” Knudsen said in the release.

JaxPort and SSA entered into a 25-year terminal lease in 2019.

JaxPort said the expansion is funded in part through a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration. It said about $12.2 million of the total project cost is targeted for completion by area small businesses.

“We are grateful for the strong partnership we have with SSA, as well as the support we have received from our partners at the federal government, who together have made this public-private partnership possible,” JaxPort CEO Eric Green said in the release. 

“Their investment in our facilities helps maximize the return on the investment of the deepening project for our community, and enables us to bring more cargo — and the jobs and businesses that come with it — to Northeast Florida.”

JaxPort said the federal project to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel to 47 feet will be completed through Blount Island in 2022. More than $100 million in berth improvements to enable the facility to simultaneously accommodate two post-Panamax ships will be completed in coordination with the deepening project.

Post-Panamax ships are large vessels that can pass through the enlarged Panama Canal.