The Port of Jacksonville is one of the busiest ports in the country for the staging and mobilization of military equipment and supplies during times of national crisis. While not currently involved in the nation's war on terrorism, port officials have recently taken steps to improve coordination in the future.
The Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Department of Defense agencies and the Jacksonville Port Authority will sign an updated memorandum of understanding Monday morning at 8 a.m. at the Port Authority Building for the utilization of domestic civil port facilities and services necessary to support future military and commercial port readiness needs.
The Port Readiness Committee memorandum lays out responsibilities of the U.S. Coast Guard, the Maritime Administration, the Military Traffic Management Control, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and the Jacksonville Port Authority for the efficiency and security of future military outloads. This memorandum of understanding updates the MOU last utilized during Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Jacksonville Port accommodated 58 ships carrying more than 800,000 tons of cargo between August 1990 and February 1991 in support of the operation.
The Port of Fernandina, Jacksonville and Port Canaveral will
have an important role in our nation’s defense. Part of their military function has been to receive, stage, load and move large tonnages of military equipment overseas. The missions of all the agencies involved are to ensure this function is performed in a safe and efficient manner.
“While there are currently no plans to move large amounts of military equipment through the Port of Jacksonville, the cooperation that allowed the rewriting of the new MOU in only six weeks, demonstrates the high level of commitment throughout the local maritime community to supporting any of America's future military shipping needs,” said Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Mike Rosecrans.
“The Jacksonville Port Authority is honored to assist the United States Armed Forces,” said Rick Ferrin, executive director of Jacksonville Port. “With Jacksonville’s strategic location and logistical connections, we’re perfectly poised to help the U.S. military move cargo in times of conflict.”