The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) set a new container volume record and maintained congestion-free operations on both the landside and waterside during Fiscal Year 2021, which ended Sept. 30.

More than 1.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (or TEUs, the industry standard for measuring containers) moved through JAXPORT in FY2021, up 10% from 2020—and a 5% increase from 2019, which was a record year for container volumes at the port.

The federal project to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel to 47 feet will be completed through JAXPORT's Blount Island Marine Terminal in June 2022
The federal project to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel to 47 feet will be completed through JAXPORT’s Blount Island Marine Terminal in June 2022

Throughout the pandemic, JAXPORT has had no vessels waiting at anchorage to enter the Jacksonville harbor. In addition, the port offers available berth and terminal capacity to easily accommodate vessels displaced by congestion at other U.S. ports. Earlier this month, ocean carrier Hapag-Lloyd announced the company is temporarily routing a European container service to JAXPORT to “adapt to market needs.”

Strong consumer demand bolstered the port’s auto business to near pre-pandemic levels. More than 616,000 vehicles moved through JAXPORT during the year, a 13% increase over 2020 volumes. An industry-wide shortage of vehicle parts, most notably microchips, tempered auto volume growth during the second half of the year.

“Achieving a container record and strong vehicle volumes while maintaining our efficiencies—all in the middle of a pandemic—speaks to the resiliency and capability of Jacksonville’s maritime community,” said JAXPORT CEO Eric Green. “Our port workers, terminal operators and service providers have shown the world that JAXPORT is a solution to the nation’s port congestion problem.”

JAXPORT’s single biggest growth initiative, the federal project to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel to 47 feet from its current depth of 40 feet, will be completed through Blount Island in June 2022. More than $200 million in berth enhancements are underway to enable Blount Island to simultaneously accommodate two post-Panamax vessels and handle more containers.

“The support of our elected officials over the years, and particularly throughout the pandemic, has positioned us to grow our port in a manageable way and provide capacity and capability to serve the growing needs of the industry during this time,” CEO Green said.

The ongoing suspension of cruise service from Jacksonville tempered the port’s revenue growth for the year. Pre-pandemic, cruise business represented about 8% of the port’s annual revenue. Carnival Cruise Line recently extended its pause on cruising from Jacksonville through at least February 2022.