Gulftainer, an international shipping firm whose proposal to invest $250 million for a cargo terminal at Blount Island was turned down by Jacksonville Port Authority officials in 2012, announced Monday a $100 million investment at another Florida port.
Port Canaveral in Brevard County has signed a 35-year agreement with a Gulftainer subsidiary to operate and develop its container and multipurpose cargo terminal, which port officials there say could ultimately lead to as many as 2,000 direct and indirect jobs in central Florida.
“This is a true game-changer that will strengthen our cargo operations,” Canaveral Port Authority Commission Chairman Tom Weinberg said in a news release.
In 2012, Gulftainer outlined a proposal to lease 123 acres of space at Blount Island and invest up to $250 million for a cargo terminal that would have been one of the biggest in Jacksonville.
After port officials met once with Gulftainer, former JaxPort CEO Paul Anderson, who now leads Port Tampa Bay, wrote the firm a letter saying the proposal did not fit into the authority’s future strategic development plans, which it was in the process of creating.
A Gulftainer managing director said at the time Anderson’s move was tantamount to having been “dismissed without even the thought of further discussions.”
After hearing from existing Blount Island tenants who said the 754-acre facility was already full and that moving them off to accommodate Gulftainer would jeopardize investments their companies planned in the future, the port authority board later voted to indefinitely shelve the proposal.
For its Port Canaveral plans, Gulftainer says it plans to hire 100 percent of its full-time employees from Brevard County and the Central Florida, and port officials say the $100 million investment in infrastructure and manpower will contribute more than $630 million to the local economy, $280 million in revenue to Port Canaveral and generate more than $350 million in tax revenue.
Nate Monroe: (904) 359-4289