The Jacksonville Port Authority board approved on Monday a contract with Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd. for a new terminal, albeit on a site that will be smaller and with less cargo capacity than the original proposal launched a year ago. Hanjin would lease 88 acres from the port for a terminal able to handle cargo equivalent to 800,000 20-foot containers a year, port officials said.
In October 2007, Jaxport and Hanjin signed a memorandum of understanding for the Korean-based company to build a 170-acre terminal with capacity for 1 million cargo containers a year.
Hanjin's board is scheduled to vote Nov. 11 on a 30-year lease in which Hanjin would make annual payments covering Jaxport's cost of building the terminal. If Hanjin's board agrees, Jaxport would have a signing ceremony in December.
Though the project has been downsized, it still would bolster Jacksonville's newfound role as port for fast-growing Asian trade, joining Mitsui OSK Lines, which is building the TraPac container terminal at Jaxport.
"With Mitsui and Hanjin together, we're not just a player" in the Asian market, said Roy Schleicher, senior director of trade development and global marketing at the port. "We're a dominant force."
The port initially sought to buy undeveloped land known as the Zion property along the St. Johns River for the Hanjin terminal.
But earlier this year, the port and Hanjin switched to port-owned land used as a cruise ship terminal. To free up that land for Hanjin, the port has bought land in Mayport where cruise ships could dock.
The amount of land for Hanjin's terminal is a key factor in how much cargo it can handle, and ultimately, how Jacksonville ranks compared with other ports. Schleicher said the annual capacity of 800,000 containers is based on Hanjin installing a state-of-the-art system with gantry cranes moving around the terminal on rails.
The port industry doesn't have an exact measure of how many containers can be handled per acre because many factors affect capacity, including whether containers come in and out of the port by train or truck, how long containers wait in stacks at the terminal before continuing their journeys, and the type of equipment used.
The TraPac terminal, for example, will cover 158 acres but has the same annual capacity of 800,000 containers as Hanjin, according to the port.
Elsewhere in the Southeast, a container terminal in Mobile, Ala., will have capacity for 800,000 containers yearly when a 135-acre tract is built out, according to the Alabama State Port Authority.