Jacksonville Port Authority and Trailer Bridge reach agreement that will strengthen trade with Puerto Rico

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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Jacksonville Port Authority strengthens commitment to trade with Puerto Rico
David C. Lester

The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) Board of Directors unanimously approved a long-term, $62 million agreement with Blount Island terminal operator Trailer Bridge.

A Jacksonville-based company, Trailer Bridge provides twice-weekly barge service between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico and serves as a full-service logistics provider in the domestic and international trade.

Under the agreement, which takes effect at the end of 2023, Trailer Bridge will remain at Blount Island through at least 2041, mirroring the company’s lease with the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA). Trailer Bridge will also expand its leasehold at Blount Island by an additional two acres, bringing its total acreage to approximately 34 acres.

“Our partnership with JAXPORT began more than 30 years ago and we [now] celebrate the next chapter in our commitment to serve the island of Puerto Rico,” said Trailer Bridge CEO Mitch Luciano. “We are proud to be a critical piece of the supply chain that delivers the goods our neighbors on the island need in their everyday lives.”

“Twenty-two percent of the cargo that moves between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico flows through Trailer Bridge,” said PRPA Executive Director Joel A. Pizá-Batiz. “Knowing that Trailer Bridge is going to operate from JAXPORT for another 18 years gives us a lot of commercial certainty as we plan for the future.”

“Puerto Rico has been critical to our success as we have grown into one of the nation’s top seaports for the import and export of goods,” said JAXPORT Board Chair Wendy Hamilton. “As we look to the future, we will continue to build on our role as a leader in providing supply chain security to the island.”

In 2021, JAXPORT signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the PRPA to affirm the ongoing work of both organizations to grow maritime trade between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico. Under the MOU, PRPA and JAXPORT continue to collaborate on key areas including business development, environmental protection, operations and security.

“[This] agreement is another significant step toward reinforcing our commitment to serving the people of Puerto Rico,” said JAXPORT CEO Eric Green. “We are grateful for our partnership with Trailer Bridge and the Puerto Rico Ports Authority and look forward to continuing to work together to grow this important trade relationship for the benefit of our communities.”

Trailer Bridge is one of three Puerto Rican ocean carriers operating between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico. JAXPORT also offers service to the island from Tote Maritime Puerto Rico and Crowley Maritime.

Jacksonville is the number one port in the United States for trade with Puerto Rico, handling nearly 90 percent of all sea trade between the island and the U.S. mainland. Puerto Rico is also Jacksonville’s number one trading partner by annual cargo volume, with nearly 900,000 container units and tens of thousands of automobiles shipped annually between the two regions.

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