Jacksonville cruise port JAXPORT is located in northeastern Florida, USA. The port's cruise ship schedule has listed mainly roundtrip Bahamas cruises (4, 5, 7-day long itineraries) on the Carnival Cruise Lines ship Carnival Elation. Ship's current call ports are Nassau (New Providence), Freeport (Grand Bahama) and the private island Half Moon Cay, combined with Key West Florida on longer itineraries. Jacksonville is sometimes included as port of call in Panama Canal transition and World Cruise itineraries.
Port's first-ever cruise vessel with regularly-scheduled service from JAXPORT was MV Zenith - starting turnaround operations in October 2003. Back then, the liner was operated by Celebrity Cruises. This service was discontinued in 2005.
On February 27, 2004, here was christened Carnival Miracle, starting regular roundtrips from Jacksonville. In 2004 (May through August), Miracle was replaced by Carnival Jubilee (scrapped in 2017). On October 12, 2004, here was homeported Carnival Celebration for year-round roundtrips. The service was temporarily discontinued in 2008 (April through August) after which was restarted Carnival's Jacksonville-Bahamas cruise homeporting of Carnival Fascination. In May 2016, Carnival Elation replaced Fascination for the year-round Florida-Bahamas passenger shipping service.
In February 2005, during the Super Bowl XXXIX, JAXPORT housed 4 floating hotels, with a total of 3500 staterooms for the football fans in addition to all the onboard nightclubs, restaurants, bars and cafes.
JAXPORT is one of USA's 16 strategic ports, Florida's only port that handles military cargo (22,000 tons in 2013) and is currently ranked the 5th largest US port by annual cargo tonnage. JAXPORT is operated by Jacksonville Port Authority company - an independent agency responsible for seaport's development and also managing the all 4 deepwater terminals (1 cruise passenger terminal and 3 cargo terminals). The cruise terminal is located just 15 min from JAX (Jacksonville Airport). The Port Authority owns all terminals, supports 132,000+ jobs (nationwide-logistics, including 26,000 local) and generates USD 31+ billion in annual economic impact for Florida.
For FY2016 (Fiscal Year 2016/ending September 30th), JAXPORT reported double-digit growth in imported vehicles (467,898) or 19% increase over 2015. Overall vehicle shipping volume was 636,000+ units. A record number of TEU-containers (968,279 units) was also reported. For FY2017, the seaport reported record growth of its cargo terminals in terms of handled containers, vehicles and overall cargo tonnage. In 2017, JAXPORT handled over 1 million TEU containers (a 7% increase over FY2016).
When combined with the TEUs handled at port's private terminals, 1,3+ million TEU units are moved through JAXPORT annually, ranking Jacksonville Florida’s largest containership port. Asian container shipping volumes in 2016 grew 19% (nearly 400,000 TEUs). Currently, port's Asian sector accounts for ~40% of the total cargo shipping volume, which in 2013 was just 24%. After 13 years of cruise homeporting operations, in July 2016, JAXPORT welcomed its 2-millionth passenger.
Besides TEU-containers, JAXPORT's terminals also handle bulk- and break-bulk cargoes, including forest products (cellulose and fluff pulp, plywood, paper board, coated and recovered paper, wood chips and pellets, logs and lumber). The cargo terminals are serviced by 3 US highways (I10, I95, I75) and 3 railroads (CSX, Norfolk Southern, Florida East Coast Railway) with 40 daily train departures. The seaport serves 40+ international marine shipping companies. Direct shipping lines link to ports in Caribbean, South America, Europe, Asia.
In 2017, JAXPORT scheduled a deepening project for the Jacksonville shipping channel (to max draft 14,3 m / 47 ft). This will result in increased cargo volumes by allowing access to some of the world's largest cargo vessels.
By this plan (2017-2021) were scheduled the following works:
- Harbor Deepening/dredging of St Johns River to max draught 47 ft . This project created 15,396 jobs and added ~2 million TEUs to port’s annual container capacity. It was estimated that every $1 invested will return $24,67 to the economy.
- Mile Point harbor improvement project (USD 43,5 million) resulted in removing navigational restrictions for larger ships under certain tidal conditions. The state advanced for design and
- Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) at Dames Point facilitates the direct transfer of TEUs between the boxships and freight trains. ICTF has daily capacity 2 unit trains (1 inbound, 1 outbound) carrying max 200 TEUs each. This reduced truck traffic on the local roads and highways.
- JAXPORT purchased three new ZPMC 100-gauge container cranes (100 ft) in addition to the existing two. All gantry cranes serve Blount Island Marine Terminal. By this USD 15-million project was upgraded Berth 35 with new gantry cranes, with planned a total of 10 new electric cranes.
- Heavy Lift Berth at Blount Island Marine Terminal has one of USA’s largest by capacity weight-bearing docks with max load capacity 1800 pounds (816 kg) per ft2. The upgrade increased berth's rail capability to 78 kips (78K pounds-force) per axle for on-dock rail cargoes.
- Infrastructure improvements (USD 100 million) at Blount Island Terminal and Talleyrand Terminal resulted in upgraded and expanded wharves, new on-site rail tracks and dock pavements.
FY2017's general cargo shipping growth was another record - 9,3 million cargo tons (7% increase over FY2016). Drybulk cargoes increased 21% over FY2016 (total 862,338 tons). The container trade with Puerto Rico grew by 10%. Note: JAXPORT is USA's primary seaport for trade with the island.
In November 2017, JAXPORT started the construction of a new car terminal for processing and storage of new (foreign- and USA-made) vehicles. The new Dames Point Marine Terminal will increase by 25% port’s vehicle-handling capacity. It covers an area of 100+ acres (40 hectares) and provides direct quayside access (for vehicle loading/unloading), as well as access to major interstate highways (connections less than 1 mi away) and rail capabilities.
In 2017, JAXPORT's total vehicle throughput was 693,000 units (record year). By volume, the port is USA's second largest vehicle-handling port. JAXPORT serves 3 major auto processing companies (AMPORTS, "Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics", Toyota) and offers international service from 13 of the world’s largest Ro-Ro carriers.
On April 30, 2018, Carnival Corporation signed with JAXPORT an extension for cruise shipping services for additional 3 years. The agreement also included 3 additional 2-year renewal options and terminal improvements. The contract (May 2021, potentially through 2027) serves the 2019-upgraded Carnival Ecstasy to operate on year-round 4-5-day cruises. Carnival's JAXPORT cruise operations serve annually around 170,000 passengers. In FY2018 were handled 199,899 passengers.
On March 4, 2019, JAXPORT's Board of Directors approved a 25-year lease deal with SSA Marine (port terminal operator) for development and management of the container terminal at Blount Island. The USD 238,7 million facility (SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal) will have deepwater berths and capacity to handle larger boxships (even when fully-loaded).
- By this project, SSA Marine will expand the terminal from 50 to 80 acres (optional up to 120 acres). The project will create ~3500 local jobs over contract's first 10 years. Upon completion of the JAXPORT Harbor Deepening project (in 2023), the expanded terminal will have a new turning basin and max draft (water depth) 14 m / 47 ft.
- SSA Marine contributed USD 28 million for the exclusive use of port's three gantry cranes (100-gauge each). SSA Marine also contributed USD 129,7 million for the exclusive terminal use and upgrades, including three new 100-gauge cranes. JAXPORT contributed USD 109 million in dock rehabilitation and terminal upgrades resulting in berthing capacity two Post-Panamax boxships simultaneously.
- Construction works on the new Blount Island Marine Terminal officially started on November 22, 2019. The new terminal has 2 post-Panamax berths and max annual capacity 700,000 TEUs. Berth upgrades will to be completed in 2021.
- SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal is approx 4 mi (6,5 km) from Dames Point Marine Terminal and serves direct lines linking JAXPORT with Atlanta GA and Chicago IL.
On May 16, 2019, was officially inaugurated the JAX LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant at Dames Point. Construction works started in December 2016. With both truck-loading and ship-bunkering capabilities, the newbuilt plant serves trucking and marine companies. It was constructed via joint venture between Pivotal LNG Inc (specializing in heavy-duty trucking, marine and rail gas transportation) and NorthStar Midstream (subsidiary of Oaktree Capital Management, specializes in port terminal storage and transportation). JAX LNG plant has daily production capacity 120,000 US gallons and storage capacity 2+ million US gallons. Planned future expansion will increase these capacities to, respectively, 600,000 and 4+ million US gallons.
JAXPORT statistics 2019
In FY2019, the port handled 1,338+ million TEUs (5% increase over FY2018), nearly 696,500 vehicles, ~10,9 million tons of cargoes (4% increase), ~880,000 tons of dry-bulk (including non-containerized materials, 19% increase), ~934,600 tons of break-bulk (including wood pulp, 7% increase), 380,300 tons of liquid-bulk (including corn syrup and molasses, 4% increase) and nearly 195,000 cruise passengers (199,000 in 2018).
JAXPORT statistics 2018
In August 2018, JAXPORT reported a monthly record in TEU volumes - nearly 115,700 containers. The previous record (115,300 TEUs) was in December 2017.
- For FY2018 (fiscal year, Oct 1 through Sept 30), JAXPORT’s TEU volumes increased 20% (over 2017) - with total handled 1,3 million containers. Of those, 382,000 TEUs were on vessels serving USA-Asian routes, and 669,700 TEUs on the route USA-Puerto Rico.
- JAXPORT serves all three world’s largest shipping alliances (G6, CKYHE, OCEAN).
- For 2019 were scheduled dredging works for deepening Jacksonville’s ship channel (to max draft 14 m / 47 ft) allowing even larger boxships.
FY2018 was port's record year for cruise shipping - a total of 199,899 passengers, served by Carnival Elation. The homeported year-round in Jacksonville ship operates roundtrip tineraries to Freeport, Nassau, Princess Cays and Half Moon Cay. Starting May 2019, Carnival Ecstasy assumes Elation's current 4-5-day itinerary program.
Record growth was reported also in container shipping volumes - nearly 1,3 million TEUs (23% increase), ranking it Florida’s largest container port. The Asian boxshipping trade increased 12% (to nearly 429,000 TEUs).
- Ro-Ro shipping (wheeled cargo) was over 665,000 units.
- General cargo shipping volumes reached nearly 10,5 million tons (+12%).
- Liquid bulk cargo shipping increased 19% (to over 365,000 tons, mainly corn syrup and cooking oil).
- Container shipping with Puerto Rico increased 37%. In 2018, from here were made the principal shipments of supply relief aid to the island following Hurricane Maria (September 2017).
River cruises from Jacksonville
As homeport for riverboats, Jacksonville is included in the regular schedule of USA's largest river cruise company - American Cruise Lines. Next table shows company's 7-day "Great Rivers of Florida" itinerary (ship American Star) with prices from ~USD 2900 per person (double occupancy).
|Date / Time||Port|
|07 Dec||Departing from Jacksonville, Florida|
|08 Dec||Palatka, Florida|
|09 Dec||Lake George, Florida|
|10 Dec||Green Cove Springs, Florida|
|11 Dec||Tolomato River, Florida|
|12 Dec||St Augustine, Florida|
|13 Dec||Amelia Island, Florida|
|14 Dec||Arriving in Jacksonville, Florida|
Jacksonville cruise terminal
JAXPORT Cruise Terminal covers a total area of 5900 m2 (63,000 ft2) and is located at the northwest corner of Dames Point Marine Terminal. The facility was inaugurated in 2003 - completed in just 6 months. Vehicle access to the terminal is via Hecksher Drive (to the west of Dames Point Bridge). I-95 highway is a few miles away. JAX Airport is at ~15 min drive from the passenger terminal.
JAXPORT has only one cruise berth (length 393 m / 1289 ft). The passenger embarkation area is sized 1400 m2 (15,000 ft2). The baggage area is sized 2600+ m2 (28,000 ft2). In front of the terminal, there is a car parking (capacity ~600 vehicles) guarded 24/7. The parking is located next to the terminal building.
On December 13, 2017, JAXPORT approved a USD 6,5 million redevelopment project that included paving an area of 18,2 acres (73,650 m2 / 793,000 ft2) located close to the cruise terminal and to be used as a dedicated cruise parking facility.
For the project was contracted the Jacksonville-based company "Pars Construction Services LLC". Works were scheduled to start in early-2018 and to be completed in November. Besides the new pavement, the new car parking project also included drainage, high-mast lighting, pay booths, electrical supply for the gate arms, CCTVs/security cameras, slope protection system (along Wynn’s Creek). The new parking lot allowed JAXPORT to convert its old cruise terminal parking area to an automobiles terminal (processing foreign- and USA-made cars).
Jacksonville tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens: visit the JAX zoo and meet more than 20 mammals and reptiles species. Get close to 1600 animals in amazing landscape area.
- Fort Clinch State Park: it dates from 1847. The old seafront fort will guide you through the daily life of the Union Soldier in the era of the Civil War.
- Museum of Science and History: or MOSH. The exhibitions are interesting for visitor from all ages.
- Museum of Southern History: go back to the Antebellum period.
- Kingsley Plantation: if you visit this cotton plantation, you will feel like you are in the late years of the 18th century. This is the “Sunshine State”‘s oldest plantation.
- Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens: along St John’s River you will find the amazing Ninah and Arthur Cummer artistick works collection. They shared the collection in 1961. Since then it rose from 60 to 5,000 works.
- Jacksonville Maritime Museum: great place to visit if you want to discover Florida naval vessels. There are a lot of interactive exhibitions and Titanic scale model.
- Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour: chose between guided tour or own walk in the beer brewing process. If you are over 21, don’t miss the “Tasting Room.”
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