Less than one year since the completion of the Jacksonville Harbor 47-foot Deepening project, Jaxport marked a milestone with the arrival yesterday of the largest capacity container ship to ever call at the Blount Island Marine Terminal.
The MV One Stork, homeported in Tokyo, Japan, has a carrying capacity of 14,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units, a stand measure of shipping containers). The previous record container carrying capacity prior to the One Stork’s arrival was 11,900 TEUs, according to Jaxport.
The Blount Island terminal’s newly deepened, 47-foot turning basin, in conjunction with the deepended federal channel, provides the water draft needed to accommodate vessels such as the One Stork, said Milan Mora, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District, Project and Project Management Division Water Resources Branch Chief.
“The feasibility analysis, engineering design and construction of the Jacksonville Harbor project has been a sustained undertaking over many years, with exceptional input and support from our partners. This is a tangible sign of the benefit our collective efforts have accomplished and will continue to deliver for decades to come,” he said.
In a sense, the One Stork’s voyage was nearly 20 years in coming, added Mora.
The planned harbor deepening, a cost-shared partnership between Jaxport and Jacksonville District, was authorized by Congress in 2014. Years of study and design followed. Between February 2018, when construction began, until its completion in May 2022, USACE dredged some 12 million cubic yards of material to deepen the federal channel and widen sections to enable unencumbered, two-way passage of vessels.
The total project cost was $350 million of combined federal and non-federal funding.
The deepened harbor cements Jacksonville’s status as a top-tier port of call for global, 21st-century commerce and economic development, said Mora.
“The operational capabilities of Jacksonville’s harbor to accommodate vessels of this size make Jaxport a great fit for us,” said Louis Ferrer, an operations director for shipping line Ocean Network Express, which operates the One Stork, according to published reports.
The consortium which includes the One Stork links ports in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Sri Lanka with American and Canadian Atlantic ports via the Suez Canal. Commercial and logistics activity associated with Jacksonville port operations contribute tens of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to the Jacksonville and regional economy.
“We are pleased that our customers will continue to benefit from direct service and efficient transit times between Asia and the Southeast U.S.,” Ferrer said.
As part of the project, USACE has undertaken significant mitigation in the form of conservation land purchases to offset minor impacts to wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation, and will continue environmental monitoring for up to 10 years, said Mora.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District on the district’s website at https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleDistrict and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JaxStrong.