President Barack Obama tours the Jacksonville Port Authority, accompanied by (from left) Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx; Dennis Kelly, TraPac Regional VP & General Manager; Roy Schleicher, CEO, Jacksonville Port Authority; and Fred Wakefield, International Longshoreman's Association representative. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
U.S. President Barack Obama visited MOL’s TraPac Jacksonville terminal with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on July 25 as a part of his economic tour. President Obama and Secretary Foxx were met by TraPac General Manager Dennis Kelly, JAXPORT interim CEO Roy Schleicher and ILA representative Fred Wakefield, who escorted and briefed them during the visit.
Following the visit, President Obama also delivered a speech in which he discussed the importance of port investment.
“We’ve got to create more jobs today doing what you’re doing right here at JAXPORT,” the President said. “We need modern ports so that we can move more goods made in America out to the rest of the world. If you want to create jobs right now, but also jobs that will have impacts for years, here is the way to do it…We know strong infrastructure is a key ingredient to a thriving economy…So that’s why last year I acted without Congress, and I took executive action to speed up the permitting process that gets workers breaking ground on projects like this one.”
Two infrastructure improvement projects at the Jacksonville Port Authority – channel deepening and on-dock rail - have been recognized for their national significance by President Obama.
“We appreciated the opportunity to meet with the President and discuss the importance of these infrastructure projects,” said Tsuyoshi Yoshida, President/CEO of MOL (America) Inc. “I am impressed that the President grasped the value of these projects and optimistic that his commitment will benefit the transportation and logistics industry. After his speech, I thanked him for the visit and his strong support. He thanked me for the opportunity.”
For shippers, the big advantage of TraPac is that it’s strategically located in one of the fastest growing regions in the country and offers strong connections to the Sunbelt and Midwest. With outstanding rail and highway access, as well as a cutting-edge container handling system, TraPac Jacksonville is part of a key hub for transportation and logistics – 60% of the U.S. population is within a 24-hour reach by truck.
A full transcript of President Obama’s speech can be found online at whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/07/25/remarks-president-economy-jacksonville-fl.