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Port officials talking with Krafts

    02/04/2005

American City Business Journals Inc.

Tony Quesada

Port Authority officials met Thursday at World Golf Village with executives of International Forest Products Corp, the Foxboro, Mass.-based pulp and paper company owned by New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft.

Roy Schleicher, port authority senior director of trade development and marketing, said he and Executive Director Rick Ferrin met primarily with two of Kraft's sons, including International Forest Products President Dan Kraft, although their father attended briefly. The discussion focused on exploring shipping requirements that the Port of Jacksonville can meet better than other ports the company currently ships from.

"We're arranging follow-up meetings in Foxboro to evaluate all their transportation needs to put together a transportation package out of Jacksonville to save them money and utilize us more," Schleicher said. "We're going to get a list of where they buy their stuff from and put together a complete logistics package for them."

The company has moved products through Jacksonville, "but not a lot," Schleicher said, noting that it also moves some products through the Port of Fernandina in Nassau County.

The meeting with the Krafts is the kind of impromptu business opportunity port officials had hoped the Super Bowl might bring. Schleicher said he called the company at the suggestion of Mayor John Peyton after Peyton, who sat by Bob Kraft at an event Monday, said its officials were interested in learning about the Port of Jacksonville.

The port authority has been busy bringing in current and potential port customers to entertain Thursday through Sunday, but officials were eager to make time for the meeting.

"I'll scramble my schedule for anything if it means business," Schleicher said.