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Negotiations all but done with Koreans

Jacksonville Port Authority chief says a contract is being finalized now with Hanjin.
 

By KEVIN TURNER, The Times-Union

Jacksonville Port Authority Executive Director Rick Ferrin said Thursday that a trip to Seoul, South Korea, last weekend likely marked the last formal negotiations between the port and Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd.

"I don't know if we're going to have another formal session. We don't need it," he said. "Attorneys are working on a contract. The big issues are settled."

Issues resolved include how a new Hanjin terminal would be paid for and built, as well as where it would be located, he said.

"The financing mechanism - whose books it goes on and whose indebtedness it is - we've resolved that to our mutual satisfaction," he said.

The deal allows the port to maintain a debt ratio that will allow for future bonds if needed, he said.

Jacksonville Port Authority will float a bond and then begin construction of the facility, Ferrin said. Hanjin will pay Jaxport as construction progresses. He did not have dollar amounts or a timeline yet, but said the terminal should be completed by 2011, as first projected.

The two sides have agreed on land at Dames Point near the 158-acre Mitsui O.S.K. Lines terminal, currently under construction. The land is the current site of the Jaxport Cruise Terminal, which port officials plan to move, possibly to Mayport.

"We want to be able to accommodate their rather unique operational model. It's a very efficient operation," Ferrin said. "What we haven't determined is how much property will be needed for administrative and security functions. That's not as important as the container yard."

The work ahead now is mostly administrative and detail-oriented, he said.

"We can get on to the business of design and permitting and be in business in 2011," he said.

Contract designers are working to assemble cost estimates, he said. According to a Jaxport official's Aug. 11 e-mail, estimates are being drawn up in response to a Hanjin proposal for a smaller terminal footprint.

 



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