The Port of Jacksonville (Jaxport) has been given a $35 million refund for unused prepayments from its recently completed harbor deepening project.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District presented Jaxport with the $35 million check in March, and the port is actively working with the city of Jacksonville and the state of Florida, which both contributed funding toward the project, to determine their share of the refund amount as outlined in the project agreements.
“It is clearly unprecedented for a project of this magnitude to come in under budget,” said Jaxport vice chair Daniel Bean. “The ability to provide a substantial refund to our partners at the city and state is a significant milestone that should be commended. Well done to everyone involved.”
Completed in May 2022, the project deepened 11 miles of the federal shipping channel to 47 feet from its previous depth of 40 feet, allowing bigger ships to call Jaxport and existing ships calling Jacksonville to carry more cargo on board. Jacksonville is Florida's largest container port and one of the nation's top vehicle-handling ports.
“From the beginning, we said we would be good stewards of the public dollars entrusted to us by working to keep costs down and completing the project as efficiently as possible. This refund is a direct result of those efforts,” said Jaxport CEO Eric Green. “We accomplished our goal by keeping the funding on schedule, thanks to the support of our federal, state and local partners, as well as the dedication and commitment of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who oversaw the project, and the dredging providers who completed the work.”
A total of $420 million was contributed upfront toward the project's construction, and its original estimated cost was $484 million. The $35 million refund results from project savings due to dredging provider bids coming in lower than forecasted. Additionally, securing funding on schedule enabled all three phases to be seamlessly completed, allowing the project to finish ahead of schedule.
The federal government funded half of the project’s total cost and is receiving a separate refund from the $35 million presented to Jaxport.