The board of directors at Florida's Jacksonville Port Authority (Jaxport) has unanimously approved the commencement of Jacksonville harbour deepening project at its latest monthly meeting.
It has also allocated the first phase of port funding to the US Army Corps of Engineers, which is set to carry out the project's construction.
The development will involve the deepening of Jacksonville shipping channel to 47ft in order to enable it to accommodate more cargo aboard the largest ships.
Construction under the project is expected to start by early next year.
Jaxport chairman Jim Citrano said: “The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening project is the single biggest opportunity to grow our port and reach our potential as a major gateway for international trade.”
The 11mi project has recently received an additional $21.5m in federal funding, following the previous allocation of $484m in state funding.
Blount Island hosts the Jacksonville port, and will serve the largest Asian container ships that require the deepest drafts after the project's completion.
The project will see both Dames Point and Talleyrand terminals maximised for containers aboard smaller ships, in addition to Jaxport’s other lines of business.
The port has witnessed an average of 21% annual growth in Asian container volumes during the last five years.
It is currently served by the largest international shipping alliances operating in Asia and the East Coast of the US.
Jaxport is a full-service, international trade seaport located in north-east Florida that provides worldwide cargo services, including direct service with Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East and South American markets.
Image: Jaxport and the TraPac Container Terminal at Dames Point recently welcomed the largest containership to ever visit a Florida port, the 10,100 TEU (container) MOL Bravo. Photo: © Jacksonville Port Authority.