The Jacksonville Port Project
This paper critically analyses the proposal to expand the Jacksonville Port, the benefits and challenges thereto, and makes relevant recommendations that would go a long way in enhancing the successful implementation and complementation of the proposed project. Key word: Jacksonville Port project.
There have been frantic calls to deepen the Jacksonville Port in the State of Florida; U.S. one outstanding proponent of this project has been Florida Governor Rick Scott. The proponents of the project opine that the project presents a classical opportunity for the state to improve its economic base as well as logistics regarding the movement of cargo vessels (Murphy, 2006, p.96). While drawing heavily from the Panama Canal case, this paper critically examines the proposal on the deepening of the Jacksonville Port with a view to making recommendations thereon. The Jacksonville Port
The Jacksonville Port in the State of Florida, United States of America has played and continues to play a significant role in the U.S economy and that of the East coast. The port follows the St. John’s River over a stretch of about 43.5 kilometers in the Northeastern part of Florida and ends at the City of Jacksonville. The port is a major shipping channel large commercial vessel. The port is one of the 14 ports that form the Florida Fourteen Public Deep-water Seaports System (Merch, 2010, p.148-53; Bingham, 2007, p.17-22). The Proposed Port Expansion
The Jacksonville Port project is expected to boost the State of Florida’s competitive advantage in the global market arena, catalyze economic growth, and enhance the creation of lucrative jobs for citizens in different parts of the state. Anchored on the Panama Canal Expansion Vision 2014, the deepening of the port is believed to portend numerous economic advantages owing to the expected increase cargo and cruise passengers crossing through the Florida seaport system. The port deepening of the port is expected to:
Generate substantial returns through local and state taxes that will be collected from the port activities and projects. The expansion of the port is also expected to create about 2,000 permanent jobs, 870 temporary construction-related jobs, and about 1,800 logistics industry-related jobs. A report by Gordon (2011, p.7) has also indicated that the expansion of the port has the potential of generating approximately $ 14.3 million in both state and local taxes annually when fully built and utilized.
It is with reference to these anticipated economic benefits attributed to the port that the port’s authority, players from the logistic industry and other relevant stakeholders have urged the State of Florida to contribute $337.3 million towards the expansion project that is expected to cost $ 110 million. The balance is expected to be raised from federal, local seaport, and private sector sources. According to the proponents, the expected amount could be raised by the State of Florida investing in projects aimed at improving the Jacksonville Port’s infrastructure such as harbor deepening, container and cargo facility improvement, as well as cruise facility development (Riggs, 2011, p.69-99).
With regard to the State funding, the proposal advises the State of Florida to make use of the current seaport bonding programs and execute additional annual investment of about $25 million in such programs. This move is expected to generate about $400 million. Secondly, the State is urged to initiate an international logistics infrastructure and trade investment fund that will go a long way in increasing Florida’s competitive advantage in the global market arena (Sheldon, 2012, p.16-19; Freebairn, 2008, p.33-37)). In this regard, the State can direct funds to priority projects for the port, logistic-based distribution centers, intermodal road connectors, and rail facilities. Whether the...
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