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FreightWaves Flashback: Jacksonville’s 3rd container crane goes up; will handle 1,500 containers weekly

The many industries that make up the world of freight have undergone tremendous change over the past several decades. Each Friday, FreightWaves explores the archives of American Shipper’s nearly 70-year-old collection of shipping and maritime publications to showcase interesting freight stories of long ago.

The following is an excerpt from the October 1973 edition of the Florida Journal of Commerce.

It was 14 years ago that Sea-Land Service began its Jacksonville operation with the arrival of the SS Fairland from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Today Jacksonville is one of the largest of Sea-Land’s network of 106 ports in 43 countries.

Back in 1959 the company was called Pan-Atlantic Steamship Corporation and its service to Puerto Rico averaged a weekly load of only 65 containers. Today, Sea-Land provides five services out of Jacksonville and ships out an average of 744 containers weekly, well over 1,000% over what they shipped with that first service.

Nearly 1,500 containers must be offloaded or on-loaded from four vessels in Jacksonville weekly. To speed this operation and prepare for future growth, Sea-Land has purchased a second Paceco container crane which is now being erected at Sea-Land’s terminal after its recent delivery from the Paceco plant at Gulfport, Miss. The crane should be ready for use around mid-October.

(This will be Sea-Land’s 2nd container crane at Jacksonville and the 3rd in operation at the port. Jacksonville Port Authority operates a 45-ton capacity container crane at its public facility on Blount Island).

The new crane is nearly a duplicate of the present crane. Total crane capacity will be 30 long tons with an outreach of 113 feet 6 inches and a backreach of 61 feet. Total height with the boom up is 196 feet 5 inches and with the boom down, 173 feet.

Of the four weekly vessels, two are used for the Puerto Rican service, which averages 300 containers a week out of Jacksonville.

The domestic service, which began calling on Jacksonville in 1959, has a ship in Jacksonville each week to load 249 containers. The same ship serves the Mediterranean service. Twenty-five containers are shipped out each week to Port Elizabeth, N.J. for relay to another ship in the direct Mediterranean service begun this year.

In 1969, Sea-Land began its Far East service from Jacksonville. Approximately 10 containers weekly are shipped from Jacksonville by ship, train or truck to a port which has a Sea-Land service to the Far East.

In June of this year, Sea-Land opened up their newest service out of Jacksonville to provide direct weekly service from the South Atlantic to Northern Europe. The SA/NE service originates in Jacksonville with 165 containers and then calls on Charleston and Portsmouth before heading to Rotterdam. The vessel then returns directly from Rotterdam to Jacksonville.

Leased facility

When Sea-Land first began its service into Jacksonville, it leased space at Talleyrand Docks and Terminals. In 1966 Sea-Land signed a 25-year lease with Jacksonville Port Authority for their present modern facilities.

Under the terms of the lease Jacksonville Port Authority issued $4,850,000 of revenue bonds and built the $3,298,000 terminal to the specification of Sea-Land. The same bonds also paid off $1,540,000 in 1963 revenue bonds which had been issued to refinance the original $1,500,000 construction at Talleyrand Docks and Terminals back in 1916.

Sea-Land is paying back its portion of the bonds. Rent on the facility for the 25-year period is $18,755 monthly. The lease has a provision that the land can be leased for an additional five years at an annual rate of $135,000.

Sea-Land has 10.2 acres at the terminal and 1,200 feet of wharf space. In addition, the terminal has 600,000 square feet of covered storage through which about 15% of Sea-Land’s Jacksonville cargo passes to be stuffed into Sea-Land containers.

The Jacksonville terminal maintains a pool of 1,000 containers, of which about 55% are in the terminal at any one time. Containers average nine days out of the terminal while delivering and/or picking up cargo.

Sea-Land plans to lease an additional 25 acres of land next to the present terminal. The site has been used as a spoil area but the spoil is presently being removed and Sea-Land hopes to begin work on the site within a couple months.

With Sea-Land’s Jacksonville terminal handling some 1,500 containers per week, Jacksonville is Sea-Land’s number two port on the East Coast and the fourth or fifth largest port in the system of 106 ports in 43 countries throughout the world.

At the inauguration of the Sea-Land SA/NE service on June 8 of this year, James J. Gallagher, general manager of the SA/NE service, said, “Jacksonville is definitely a pivot port for Sea Land.”

You may also like:

FreightWaves Flashback: Which South Atlantic port is really No. 1?

FreightWaves Flashback 1963: Rail piggyback captures 9.3% of citrus movement in two years

FreightWaves Flashback 1971: ‘Breakthrough’ reported in test shipment of melons to UK stores

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