On Friday, Aug. 22, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown joined executives from Höegh Autoliners and JAXPORT in welcoming the company’s newest auto ship, Höegh Jacksonville, for its inaugural visit to the city it was named after. The ship, named in tribute to the company’s busiest U.S. port, is the first of two sister vessels delivered to Höegh, each able to carry up to 6,500 vehicles.

Höegh Autoliners, a leading global provider of vehicle transportation services, operates out of JAXPORT’s Blount Island Marine Terminal. Jacksonville also now serves as the company’s U.S. headquarters, which relocated from New York in 2013. The company operates 60 ocean carriers and has a worldwide network of approximately 20 offices in four regions.

During the celebration, Mayor Brown, JAXPORT Board Chairman John Falconetti and others VIPs rode along with ILA workers loading the first vehicles from Jacksonville on to the ship for transport. The mascot for Jacksonville’s NFL team, the Jaguars’ Jaxson De Ville, and the mascot of the city’s minor league baseball team, the Jacksonville Suns’ Southpaw, helped direct traffic and entertained guests at the Jacksonville-themed event.

“While this is a great honor, Höegh’s commitment to Northeast Florida goes deeper than the name on this impressive new ship,” said Falconetti. “The company has become an important part of our community and a vital component of our port business. We know today’s inaugural visit is just one of many more milestones in our enduring partnership.”

JAXPORT is the nation’s No. 1 port for vehicle exports and among the top vehicle processing ports in the nation. In 2013, more than 630,000 vehicles moved through the port.

View high resolution photos of today’s event including the mayor riding in the first car, and Jaxson De Ville and Southpaw hamming it up.

View video from the event.