Ample capacity at JAXPORT heightens need for more freight truck drivers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — When it comes to the most efficient ways to get goods and everyday items to store shelves, Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) is getting a lot of attention these days.

Its lack of congestion compared to ports to the north and out west has companies considering shifting business to the port.

Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole reports that so far, two container vessels have brought their business to JAXPORT.

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They are able to unload because of the space that is available.

One has already arrived last month, and the next is expected in the first week of December.

With the abundance of containers and cargo comes another focus — driving the freight from the port to your store shelves.

Hot dogs aren’t the only popular thing on the menu at Jock’s Dogs and More.

“You got the sausage dogs, and then the all-beef hot dogs and then the hamburgers come right in there on top sometimes!,” Russell Cunningham passionately explained.

That demand from customers means more trips to the grocery store for Cunningham; and with lingering supply chain issues, those trips have become more expensive.

“Dollarwise, we went up probably $15, $20 a case of hot dogs from a year ago ... a year and a half ago, when the pandemic started,” said Cunningham.

AGX Freight, a freight brokerage network, is one of the companies that makes sure that food will be on the shelves when Cunningham makes his next trip.

“Our large accounts are grocery accounts and electronics — a lot of big box electronics. We’re actually the truckers that are bringing those TVs and appliances to the big boxes,” said Ike Sherlock.

Sherlock is the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of AGX Freight, a company that works closely with JAXPORT.

“Taking freight off the port and helping to get distributed throughout the country,” Sherlock told Action News Jax.

While JAXPORT’s lack of congestion has opened it up to the possibility of working with new companies, it’s presented another challenge.

“When you see shortages, things not getting on the shelves, people talk about it. In our industry we’ve been talking about it for a long time. We need more truck drivers,” Sherlock said.

It’s a challenge that has made Cunningham plan strategically.

“One day you go in, it is available and you don’t need it right then. And you go back in the next two or three days to get it, and it’s not available,” Cunningham explained to Cole.

Sherlock said the number of truck drivers they need is not critical yet.

However, with the East Coast preparing to take on more freight because of congestion at ports in the west, he doesn’t want to get to that point.

“We don’t know how long it’s going to go and so forth, and so I’m just taking one day at a time and just making sure I’m able to make profit,” Cunningham said.

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Sherlock said right now their company is running 150 trucks.

At this point, there would be no such thing as too many trucks and truck drivers, because there is just that much freight that needs to be transported.

For more information on pursuing a career as a truck driver, click here.

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