Here’s what industry and local leaders had to say about investing in Jacksonville’s future following the decision Monday by JAXPORT’s Board of Directors to seek a 47 foot depth for the St. Johns River Federal Channel:
“This may be our best, and perhaps last, opportunity to become a major port.”
– George Gabel, Chairman, Logistics Advisory Group and Partner, Holland & Knight.
“We all know that there is incredible opportunity just over the horizon for North Florida and the ability to be the first or last port of call for the larger cargo vessels fully loaded means jobs and positive growth for the private sector in our region. We must maximize the use of the public assets under our management and we must do so now.”
– Roy Schleicher, Interim CEO, JAXPORT.
“It is my opinion that not going to at least 47 feet in channel depth of the JAXPORT harbor would be a multimillion dollar mistake for the State of Florida due to lost tax revenue. The larger cargo vessels could not enter or leave JAXPORT fully loaded and thus would pass us by for a deeper port. This would also mean a loss in job growth of hundreds if not thousands of shipping related positions.”
– Jim Love, Jacksonville City Councilman District 14 and JAXPORT Council Liaison.
“The St. Johns Bar Pilot Association applauds the JAXPORT decision to pursue the most aggressive and advantageous harbor deepening scenario for the Port of Jacksonville. We must commit to a project that will lead to real and prolonged economic growth and job creation and we fully support that commitment. As always, the Jacksonville pilots will continue to work in cooperation with JAXPORT and our port stakeholders towards maximizing and economizing the utilization of our waterway regardless of the channel depth. We serve the port first and foremost and thank Mr. Schleicher and the entire board for their efforts.”
– Capt. Timothy J. McGill, President, St. Johns Bar Pilot Association.
“If they (the board) made a choice to not deepen the port a reasonable depth, it would be a choice to say we are not going to compete.”
– Jerry Mallot, JAX Chamber interim president and JAXUSA Partnership president.
“The business that we live in has changed. I think we need to be prepared for it going forward or I don’t think we’ll be a wide spot in the road if we stay at 45 feet, but certainly will have diminished returns for the growth of this community as the economic developer and the economic driver.”
-James P. Citrano, Board Chairman.
“This is a turning point in the life of this organization and I think that 47 feet should be our unanimous decision.”
– Robert F. Spohrer, Board Member.
“It’s not a pun to say the maritime freight world is in a sea change, and it’s all driven by depth. We have a probably even multi-generational opportunity that we are looking at and based on the numbers in this case benefit both locally and state, any way you cut it, it sounds like payback or justification is there. This is an opportunity to realize and embrace the sort of change that’s going on and take a shot at it. No more, no less.”
– John E. Anderson, Board Treasurer.
“In order for JAXPORT to maximize its potential for economic growth for the city of Jacksonville we must take bold and unprecedented measures. Going to 47 feet is this type of measure. This will position us to be a serious player in the global port industry and will generate thousands of jobs. As we take this message to our community I’m certain they will agree.”
– Dr. John Allen Newman, Board Member.
“Frankly we’re at a stepping off point; we have an opportunity for generations to make a decision today that could very well be one of the most significant ones that not only we as individuals but this community makes in the foreseeable future. So, I’m excited about what the future holds for Jacksonville and JAXPORT at 47 feet.”
-John J. Falconetti, Board Secretary.
“I support the move to 47,1 think it’s a great opportunity…it’s always more significant than everyone predicts.”
– Joe York, Vice Chairman.
Press Release, February 28, 2013