By Aundra Wallace | JAXUSA partnership president
Over the last few years, challenges in the supply chain have been under the microscope.
Whether it be congestion issues, higher fuel prices or a lack of available workforce in the industry, the pains of our current situation are being felt all over the world, and here at home.
Jacksonville’s recognition as “America’s Logistics Center” has helped lessen the burden due to investment in the region’s rich logistics infrastructure and key location that enables same-day access to 98 million U.S. consumers.
The infrastructure found in the region’s seven counties includes two deep-water ports, three interstates, four rail lines and an international airport system.
Additionally, the region is developing talent needed for logistics companies as well. With industry-related career academies in many of our K-12 school districts and curriculum at post-secondary institutions such as Florida State College at Jacksonville’s CDL certification program and the University of North Florida’s Crowley Center for Transportation and Logistics, we’re seeing homegrown graduates accept meaningful employment right here, putting us on the right side of supply chain economics.
This abundance of assets has positioned Northeast Florida for success in landing logistics projects from e-commerce and cold storage facilities to cargo handling and automotive processing.
Over the last three years, JAXUSA Partnership has been involved in 18 logistics company announcements that will add nearly 3,000 direct jobs and more than $619 million in private investment.
Infrastructure improvements at JaxPort and on our roadways will add opportunity for future projects.
This summer’s completion of the harbor deepening project will allow JaxPort to handle post-Panamax ships with fewer instances of congestion plaguing other ports.
JaxPort already is considered a driver for these projects, and as we see growth, we also experience a lack of available land in its immediate proximity.
This scarcity compresses opportunity to surrounding counties where developers are purchasing land for speculative industrial use.
Due to an existing lack of direct interstate in Clay and northern Putnam counties, the construction of the First Coast Expressway will give way to untapped potential for attracting manufacturing and logistics projects due to the new-found access it will bring.
The region’s logistics industry is a bright spot in our economy. As our global brand recognition and assets continue to strengthen, it will only add to our standing as a top U.S. logistics hub.
Aundra Wallace was named president of JAXUSA Partnership, the economic development division of JAX Chamber, in 2018.