Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) and Mayor John Peyton announced the signing of an initial agreement with Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd. to develop a $360 million container terminal in Jacksonville. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) allows JAXPORT and Hanjin to move forward on contract negotiations regarding construction, financing and operations of the facility. The MOU was signed by all three parties today in a ceremony at the Hanjin headquarters in Seoul, South Korea.

‘Today’s agreement with Hanjin underscores Jacksonville’s new role in global trade,’ said Rick Ferrin, executive director of JAXPORT. ‘With this historic signing, not one, but two major players in the international shipping arena have given notice in a big way that JAXPORT is the place to be.’

Mayor Peyton added, ‘Jacksonville is well on its way to becoming one of the largest and most successful port cities on the East Coast and the premier logistics and transportation hub in the Southeastern United States. The Board and staff at JAXPORT have done a tremendous job attracting shippers of this magnitude, which complements the city’s efforts to attract high-wage jobs for residents and increase economic opportunities. I warmly welcome Hanjin Shipping to our great city and am hopeful an agreement to move forward can be reached quickly.’

Hanjin is Korea’s largest, and one of the world’s biggest, container carriers moving more than 100 million tons of cargo annually while operating in more than 50 countries. In the United States, Hanjin’s subsidiary, Total Terminal International currently operates dedicated terminals in Long Beach and Oakland, CA, and Seattle, WA.

The MOU signed today calls for the 170-acre Hanjin Shipping Terminal, Jacksonville to begin operations in 2011 with capacity to handle one million twenty-foot equivalent units (teus) annually. This measurement equates to more than seven and a half million tons of cargo.

Tony Nelson, chairman of the JAXPORT Board of Directors said, ‘Our board’s focus has always been on providing jobs and opportunity for the people of Jacksonville. This is a most satisfying move toward fulfilling that goal.’

The Hanjin Shipping Container Terminal, Jacksonville is expected to generate at least $1 billion in economic activity in Northeast Florida and create thousands of new direct and indirect jobs for the region.

The proposed Hanjin Shipping Container Terminal, Jacksonville will be JAXPORT’s fifth marine terminal and Hanjin’s first dedicated operation on the US East Coast. This strategic move is meant to capitalize on the expansion of the Panama Canal and the anticipated increase of container traffic along the east coast. No specific site has been designated for the terminal at this time.

‘Hanjin is involved in developing new terminals around the world and we are pleased to begin talks with JAXPORT,’ said J.W. Park, Hanjin Shipping president and chief executive officer. ‘Our aim in locating on the East Coast is to offer upgraded service, lower costs and improved schedules to our customers. The Hanjin Shipping Container Terminal, Jacksonville will definitely help us accomplish that.’