Blount Island’s Technical Stevedoring
Patriot Rail and Ports’ Portus Stevedoring group at the Blount Island Maritime Terminal in Jacksonville, Florida, can basically do it all. The team has the skills, expertise, and equipment to handle extremely complex moves. Operating with a customer-first mindset, they solve problems others can’t and move cargo most companies wouldn’t touch. Our operations team, led by Jesse Paulson, with support from Superintendents Irma Flores and James Maple, has nearly four decades of combined experience. They know the business and guide our talented crew members through complex problems every day.
“Our team is very robust. We all have diverse backgrounds that always seem to lend themselves to the job at hand,” says Operations Manager Jesse Paulson.
This matters because many of the jobs that come our way are very complicated. They are time-sensitive and carry a significant amount of risk for all stakeholders. Our customers trust in our reputation for successfully handling any jobs that come our way with respect for our team’s safety and cargo.
Trust in Our Reputation
Patriot’s willingness to regularly say “yes” to difficult jobs guarantees variety in the workplace. It’s the reason why Irma Flores feels like she has seen it all in her 18 years on the dock.
“If a customer has a problem, we solve it,” she says. “With the experience we have out here, we can always figure it out.”
She recalls a particularly challenging request presented by a company with a generator so large it had to be shipped in pieces then reassembled on the dock. It was a job with enormous scale and complexity. Any error would have resulted in a significant financial loss for Patriot and crucial time lost for the customer.
“The customer told us they had looked all over, and we were the only ones they trusted to lift this safely. They had very fragile, very expensive copper pieces.”
“We had to take it all off the ship and stage it in our top yard,” Irma continued. “Then they came and assembled it in the bottom yard over the next couple of months. When they were done, we loaded it on a truck so they could take it out of here.”
Patriot Core Values Shine with Each Task
It was a job that genuinely exemplified the Patriot core value of being a complex solution provider.
Fellow Superintendent James Maple relayed a story of another large generator that required an equally complex solution.
“We had to take this huge generator off the vessel and land it on a train,” he said. “The generator was so big and so heavy it took two cranes to lift, and it had to be placed absolute dead-center on the car, or it could cause the train to derail. It took patience and great communication between our crane operators. For about an hour, they had to be working in perfect tandem to pull that generator off the ship, straighten it out and set it down right where it needed to be.”
Accomplishing such a feat requires tremendous precision, teamwork, and skill. The slightest mistake could mean a million dollar liability, a dissatisfied customer, or an absolute worst-case scenario, a loss of life. Flawless execution in the face of intense pressure is a hallmark trait of this team.
“We pride ourselves on being able to do things like that,” James Maple said. He then relayed another story where the group drew on their experience to overcome challenging circumstances, this one about loading a sonar aircraft onto the ship in heavy winds.
“Once we got it over the vessel with the wind whipping through there and the boat rocking, we had to hold it as steady as we could. Then we had to time it just right, so when the boat rocked straight up, we placed it right where it needed to be.”
He tells the story with a calm that would almost lead the listener to believe it was just another day at the office. The reality is there’s never a dull day for Patriot’s Portus team at Blount Island. Their depth of skill and willingness to tackle the most challenging jobs ensures that each day is as tough as the last.