Volkswagen Makes Jaxport its Southeast Distribution Center.

Volkswagen Makes Jaxport its Southeast Distribution Center

There are 1,000 new Volkswagen vehicles sitting at the Port of Jacksonville — but they're just a fraction of what's coming to the First Coast this week.

By next Wednesday, 5,000 new VWs will have made their way to Jacksonville, as part of the Volkswagen Group of America's decision to make Jacksonville its Southeast distribution center.

The 5,000 are the first of 100,000 that will be processed at Jaxport through vehicle processer Amports.

Over the course of the next week, five shipments of about 1,000 vehicles each will arrive, including not only the Beetles, Jettas and Golfs dropped off Wednesday, but also higher-end Audis and Bentleys.

“This is part of what we've been talking about,” said Vincent Cameron, president of International Longshoremen's Association Local No. 1408, whose members were driving the vehicles off the autoliner and to Amports to be processed. “More work. Once we get dredging, there will be even more to come.”

Cameron added that work like this goes to his men, who make a livable wage and then spend it in Jacksonville.

“More work like this,” he said, “means more money for the city.”

To be able to handle vehicles like these, which were manufactured in Mexico, means the longshoremen have to go through specialized training to drive them without incident. The foremen on the ship, Cameron said, have to be extra-engaged to manage the driving of the vehicles.

“We have quite a reputation for quality of vehicle handling,” said Nancy Rubin, senior director of communications for Jaxport.

She added that the Jaxport is the No. 1 exporter for vehicles in the country and one of the top importers. Last year, the port exported more than 450,000 vehicles. Rubin said that soon the port expects to be the top port for vehicles coming both in and out of the U.S.

Written By: Jensen Worley of The Jacksonville Business Journal  -