JAXPORT focuses on building cargo business and creating jobs in 2020-2025 Strategic Master Plan

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As we approach the one-year mark of the pandemic, the Jacksonville Port Authority shows no sign of slowing down.

In fact, during their State of the Port Address, the JAXPORT team said they’re ready to bring more jobs to the area.

Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole spoke to Beth McCague, JAXPORT’S CFO, about how they plan to do this and what this will mean for our local economy.

“How is it that we can optimize what’s happening here, on these premises, with this great infrastructure, to bring in more business?” McCague asked.

She continued with the answer, which McCague said is building up the port’s cargo business and creating new, private-sector jobs.

They’ve mapped out how they plan to do that in their 5-year plan, which debuted during today’s State of the Port Address. You can read more below about the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan below:

It lays out 10 goals and 5 aspirations, which include but aren’t limited to expanding container business, completing harbor deepening and re-building the cruise business line – all things that could create new jobs.

“With the harbor, we will be able to accommodate two to post Panamaniac ships at one time. Ultimately, we will have six cranes that are moving cargo on-and-off of those ships,” McCague said.

According to McCague, JAXPORT’S impact is substantial – with just over 10,000 jobs locally.

Statewide, the cargo activity at Jacksonville ports has generated just over 138,000, according to the latest Economic Impact Report.

During the pandemic, McCague said, unlike other ports, all of their employees were able to continue working safely without having to be furloughed.

“Now we have to work on increasing our business to take full advantage of all of this investment into harbor deepening and the port facilities. We are returning on the investment to the community,” said McCague.

When Cole asked McCague to quantify how many jobs we could see come to JAXPORT over the next five years, she said it will depend on timing and opportunities.