Woods Hole Group will be working with the Jacksonville Marine Transportation Exchange (JMTX) for the installation, operations and maintenance of a large-scale Physical Oceanographic Real Time System (PORTS) in Jacksonville, Florida. NOAA PORTS is a network of sensors in ports and harbor providing access to information that improves maritime commerce and safety.
Upon completion, JXPORTS networks will be the second largest PORTS installation in the country. It will provide invaluable information to the users of St. John’s River, including the shipping industry, tug services, military personnel, cruise ships, commercial and recreational fisherman, and academic institutions. The system will provide access to real-time quality controlled data (every six minutes) that will facilitate safe navigation, and will also promote greater understanding of the waterway system and its environment for research and engineering purposes. With knowledge of water depths, current speeds and direction, the distance from the water surface to overhead bridge superstructure, and other information, ship pilots can navigate safely and more efficiently. The system is intended to reduce the risk of accident and improve maritime commerce.
Woods Hole Group currently maintains more than eighty PORTS stations along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. The JXPORTS project includes installation, commissioning and management of the system for three years. Woods Hole Group, which has offices worldwide, has set up an office in Jacksonville staffed with personnel proficient with the operation and troubleshooting of the complex sensors that will be incorporated in the JXPORTS network.
Vice President for Scientific Operation, Robert Catalano, said, “JMTX provided the leadership necessary to launch the project, and we’re working with a great team of local marine contractors and partners to ensure its success. We’re confident the maritime community will soon learn to depend on the regular data stream for value-added decision-making that will save time and money while improving safety.”
Executive Director of the Jacksonville Maritime Transportation Exchange, James McLaughlin said, “With JXPORTS, mariners will have real-time information at their fingertips and will no longer need to rely on predicted data. This real-time data will allow operators to load their vessels with maximum cargo and while, at the same time, reduce the risk of collisions and groundings. This is critical as we continue to increase our exports and receive larger vessels in the port of Jacksonville. Until we see a permanent fix to Mile Pt. and our harbor deepened to 47 feet, JXPORTS is our best option to bring economic progress to our port and its stakeholders.”