We posted on Jaxport previously with a mention of how it seems to do things backwards. Well, here’s another case where it appears the Port didn’t do all of its homework first. Jaxport and its new terminals for Hanjin and Mitsui are expected to be a huge boon in the form of millions, maybe billions, of dollars and thousands of jobs for Jacksonville. There’s just one problem. The companies plan to bring all these containers in on post-Panamax ships.
Panamax ships (the ships of the size that will pass through the current Panama canal) need 39.5 feet of draft in fresh water (buoyancy is affected by salt water). Post-Panamax ships need much deeper water (These behemoths allow for more containers to be carried at a cheaper price ). And so, the Panama Canal is being deepened from its current 41 feet to 60 feet in order to accomodate these post-Panamax behemoths. Work should be completed by 2014.
Jaxport in all of its infinite wisdom is currently seeking to deepen the St. Johns River to a depth of 45 feet from its current depth of 40 feet to handle larger ships. However, a study recently released by the St. Johns River Water Management District says that dredging the river that deep would damage the St. Johns River by increasing the saltiness of the water – by at least 1/5 according to their report.
Jaxport once again puts the cart before the horse – it appears they’ll be unable to accomodate post-Panamax ships that will need even deeper water than Jaxport is currently requesting to dredge. Well, at least they have verbally agreed to go slower on the Mayport Cruise Terminal, but wouldn’t Jaxport need that same depth dredged in the river to accomodate those larger cruise ships, too?