Citing the progress of the recent past and the potential for the future, the Apalachee Regional Planning Council recently unanimously passed a resolution supporting ongoing efforts to develop the Port of Port St. Joe.
The ARPC planning area includes Gulf County.
The council also urged, as the Board of County Commissioners has, for other counties in the region to get onboard to support development of the port.
“(The planning council) encourages all the communities of the Apalachee Region to pledge their support and cooperation in these efforts,” read the resolution signed by council chair John S. Jones, Jr. and executive director Charles D. Blume.
The resolution is part of region-wide effort to support the work of the St. Joe Company and Port of Port St. Joe officials in development of the port.
The ARPC has long championed the Port of Port St. Joe as a fulcrum for economic development in a region that includes Gulf, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Calhoun, Liberty, Gadsden and Wakulla counties and the 28 municipalities in those counties.
“The Council seeks to continue its long history of support for the development of the Port of Port St. Joe through its partnerships with the St. Joe Company and other cooperatives of both public and private investment for the growth and promotion of the deepwater port as a gateway to international trade,” the ARPC resolution begins.
The resolution details the financial, marketing and capital outlay infrastructure in place to promote and develop the port.
The ARPC highlights St. Joe’s promotion and marketing of the port, and its strategic positioning in global exporting and importing markets, to national and international companies.
St. Joe has engaged one of the top infrastructure investment teams in the hemisphere in the Bank of Montreal, which is marketing the across a variety of platforms in the private sector.
The ARPC also highlights the infrastructure amenities, including bulkheads of 1,900 linear feet at the ship channel turning basin and 900 feet along the Gulf County Canal.
The Port of Port St. Joe is also one of the closest and most accessible deepwater ports to the Panama Canal, the expansion of which will be completed in 2015.
With 260 acres of property adjacent to the bulkheads and 5,000 surrounding acres for additional business development and expansion, the port is also poised for growth.,
Located 21 miles from the Apalachicola Regional Airport and 57 miles from the recently-opened Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, and with direct access to the Intercoastal Waterway which serves as a navigable inland waterway of 1.050 miles from Carrabelle to Brownville, TX and provides access to the inland river system to locations such as Chicago, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Tulsa and other major U.S. cities, the port is a true regional gateway.
A gateway, the ARPC, enhanced by direct and immediate access to rail through the AN Railway, owned by St. Joe and operated by Genesse & Wyoming, Inc., providing connection to the CSXT Class I mainline, as well as road access to U.S. I-10 and State 71.
“The Council recognizes the emergence of the Port of Port St. Joe through its partnership with the St. Joe Company as a primary catalyst to the future business and jobs growth of the Apalachee Region,” the resolution reads, “The Council recognizes the unique and abundant opportunities that will be created for this and future generations from the success that is accomplished in the development of the Port of Port St. Joe.”
The ARPC resolution comes at a time when the Port St. Joe Port Authority is crafting an outreach campaign to solicit support for port development from the public and private sectors.