Resurgent Port of Jacksonville opposes punitive taxes
November 11, 2010 - LM Editorial
Ocean carriers serving the U.S.-Puerto Rico trade may not be the only ones to feel the impact of a discriminatory tax on multinational companies.
According to spokesmen for the Port of Jacksonville, Law 154 could hurt business there, too, in the short-term.
“The worst part about it,” said Raul Alfonso, the port’s senior director, trade development & global marketing, “is that it came out of the blue. We were completely surprised by the move.”
“Fortunately for the port, we have several other vibrant markets to serve.”
In an interview with LM, Alfonso said that the port had double-digit growth in the past fiscal year, and that they are projecting sustainable commercial activity in 2011.
“Naturally,” he said, “the real significant date for us is 2014 when the Panama Canal is widened.”
The Jacksonville Port Authority, also known as JAXPORT, is the independent government agency that owns, operates and controls much of Jacksonville’s Seaport System. According to Alfonso, JAXPORT is determined to differentiate its services by refining logistics.
“We have invested the money in our distribution infrastructure,” he said, “so that we can capture north-south deployments and be ready for increased all-water service via Asia-EU.
Panama Canal expansion is preceded by Hanjin Shipping’s plan to build a new terminal on Dame’s Point. It has reserved 90 acres for their container terminal, which is projected to open during 2013.
Alfonso said that he will following this issue and others raised at the National Industrial Transportation League’s annual meeting in Ft. Lauderdale next week.
“We have a lot be optimistic about,” he said. “And we feel that shippers will help us fight against taxes that hinder trade…no matter where they are enacted.”