JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced Sea-Lead Shipping will be moving part of their operations from California to JAXPORT in order to bypass heavy congestion at the Port of Long Beach. This will be the first U.S. East Coast container service for the company and JAXPORT will serve as the last port of call on Sea-Lead’s Asia East Coast rotation, connecting Jacksonville to 4 locations in Asia.
“In October, in the midst of severe supply chain disruptions we made a public effort to get companies to bring more cargo to Florida ports, and we have seen great results,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Florida’s continued investment in our seaports and transportation infrastructure make this exciting announcement possible. We will continue to make infrastructure investments that keep our supply chain moving and make sure that Florida has a strong workforce ready to support these businesses moving to our state.”
“This new service, and the jobs and economic impact it brings to Jacksonville, is a direct result of the dedication and foresight of our elected officials who have invested in a deeper channel and infrastructure upgrades to enable JAXPORT to serve a wider variety of vessels,” said JAXPORT CEO Eric Green. “We are grateful to Sea-Lead for choosing Jacksonville as a port of call on their first US East Coast service and look forward to putting our city’s efficiencies and strong transportation network to work for their customers throughout the Southeast.”
In October, Governor DeSantis visited JAXPORT to invite companies who were experiencing supply chain disruptions at other ports to bring their business to Florida’s ports which are open, ready for business, and able to free up backlogs at other ports. Since then, several companies have contacted JAXPORT about shifting their business to Florida, many specifically citing Governor DeSantis’ announcement as their reason for reaching out. Additionally, Florida’s ports have seen tremendous growth in cargo. Florida’s seaports have been working aggressively to expand cargo operations:
- Port Miami recorded its busiest cargo year in its history, up almost 18% over last year with most of the additional cargo attributed to imports coming from Asia which would normally go into California.
- Port Tampa container tonnage increased by 14% in the first quarter of 2022, with huge jumps in building material specifically. Steel is up 122% and lumber is up 160%.
- Port Everglades saw 11% growth year over year, and they are up more than 25% year to date.
- At Port Manatee, the first quarter of 2022 showed a 15% increase in short tons. Wood products which normally go into California have been coming to Port Manatee instead.
Since 2019, Florida has invested nearly $1 billion into its seaports to ensure that they have the capacity to serve as much cargo as possible. The state has also prioritized infrastructure investments in roadways to ensure capability of handling freight movements. Governor DeSantis proposed $10.4 billion in his Freedom First budget for Florida’s transportation infrastructure.
Sea-Lead is a privately owned global shipping line, headquartered in Singapore, with a presence in 18 countries. The company has been considering South Atlantic ports for their new vessel service to avoid congestion at the Port of Long Beach. Sea-Lead has been in communication with SSA Marine, the terminal operator at JAXPORT, and will call JAXPORT’s Blount Island Terminal every two weeks, beginning in May 2022. Sea-Lead’s move to JAXPORT can be attributed to berth availability, strong labor force available in Jacksonville, and strong infrastructure connecting freight to consumers. JAXPORT has same-day truck access to 98 million US consumers. Sea-Lead’s new service is initially expected to bring 400-500 loaded containers to be discharged at JAXPORT and will bring in $400,000 in new revenue.