The Jacksonville Port Authority Board of Directors signed an 18-year lease estimated at $62 million with transportation and logistics company Trailer Bridge Inc. that officials are touting as bolstering JaxPort’s service to Porto Rico.
The board voted 7-0 on June 27 to extend Jacksonville-based Trailer Bridge’s lease of 33.9 acres at the port’s Blount Island terminal through January 2041.
Trailer Bridge offers marine, truckload, intermodal, expedited and specialty, vehicle, warehousing and transloading services.
The carrier began operating in Blount Island in 1991, the year Trailer Bridge was founded.
The company signed its existing 10-year lease with JaxPort in 2013, allowing it to provide twice-weekly barge service between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico.
“Our partnership with JAXPORT began over 30 years ago and today we celebrate the next chapter in our commitment to serve the island of Puerto Rico,” Trailer Bridge CEO Mitch Luciano said in a statement. Press release.
“We are proud to be an essential part of the supply chain that provides the goods that our island neighbors need in their daily lives.”
According to a board document, Trailer Bridge generates $2.5 million in annual revenue for JaxPort. The company is one of three carriers operating between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico. The others are Tote Maritime Puerto Rico and Crowley Maritime.
The new lease, effective November 2023, parallels a similar lease Trailer Bridge has with the Puerto Rico Ports Authority in San Juan.
Puerto Rico Port Authority Executive Director Joel A. Pizá-Batiz attended a meeting of the JaxPort Board of Directors in April 2021 to sign a memorandum of understanding with the port authority board to to develop maritime trade between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico.
After the June 27 vote, Pizá-Batiz said trade between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico remained fluid in 2022 despite port congestion on the US West Coast.
Pizá-Batiz called the trade relationship between Jacksonville and San Juan “robust and substantial,” translating into more than 800,000 containers moved between the two ports each year.
“Thousands of businesses, jobs and economic activity in Puerto Rico, (the) Virgin Islands and the State of Florida depend on trade between our ports,” Pizá-Batiz said.
“Even from a national security perspective, our trade is important when you consider the pharmaceuticals and medical devices that are part of this trade exchange.”
According to Pizá-Batiz, Trailer Bridge operates four barges that operate in Puerto Rican commerce, and 24% of all U.S. cargo bound for the island territory passes through this company.
Luciano said in May that Trailer Bridge expects to top $350 million in revenue in 2022, up from $240 million in 2021.
He said Trailer Bridge is moving its Jacksonville logistics office from 5011 Gate Parkway in the JTB Center about 2 miles north to 4600 Touchton Road E., Building 200, Deerwood North, to accommodate growth.
It has offices in Jacksonville; Atlanta; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Los Angeles; Nashville, TN; Overland Park, Kansas; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Juan, Puerto Rico; The Dominican Republic; and two in Mexico.
Trailer Bridge has over 3,100 shipping containers, 2,500 chassis and works with 70 truck owners. In addition, 38,000 partner carriers deliver freight across the country.
Writer Karen Brune Mathis contributed to this report.
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