In 1562 Frenchman Jean Ribault led his men up the St. Johns River and established a settlement called Fort Caroline. Three years later, English trader John Hawkins sailed to the mouth of the St. Johns River to replenish his water supply. While there, he traded guns and ammunition for food and other supplies with the French Huguenots at Fort Caroline. This was the first waterborne international transaction in the New World; as a result, Jacksonville can claim the distinction of being "America's First Port ."
Today the Port of Jacksonville is thriving with a vibrant international trade. McAllister Towing commenced operations in 1986 and today participates in providing unsurpassed ship docking services to over 2,200 vessels entering the Port of Jacksonville.