Mobile set for expansion

Mobile set for expansion
The terminal's expansion plans have been agreed

The powers-that-be at Alabama’s Port of Mobile have approved a US$49.5m expansion of its container terminal.

In separate actions, the Alabama State Port Authority and APM Terminals have approved an expansion which will increase the terminal’s capacity to 650,000 teu.

The Phase 3 expansion incoporates a dock extension and an additional 20 acres of improved yard to maintain excess capacity.

The terminal’s managing director Brian Harold said: “The Phase 3 expansion enables us to stay well ahead of the growth pattern we’ve seen in the Port of Mobile, as well as add dock space to support the growing vessel sizes that are coming to the terminal. It will help us maintain the efficiency levels our customers have come to expect, while also creating the extra capacity needed to support potential future economic growth in our market.”

The Phase 3 is part of a five Phase long-term plan that can grow the terminal’s annual throughput capacity to 1.5m teu. Under the Phase 3 development, a 400 ft. dock extension, super Post-Panamax crane rails and upgrades to the fender system will accommodate 14,000 teu ships.

The 20-acre yard expansion ensures excess capacity at the terminal to accommodate new shipper and carrier business opportunities. The dock extension will take approximately two years to complete, while the yard will take 18 months to complete.

When completed, Phase 3 will complement the recently completed Phase II investments that delivered 20 acres and installed two new super Post-Panamax cranes to accommodate new business through the terminal, including containers bound for Walmart’s 2.6m sq. ft. import distribution centre in Mobile.

The project will also compliment the recently completed Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, which is accessible by five Class I railroads, including the Canadian National, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Kansas City Southern and BNSF. Currently, the Canadian National provides container intermodal rail service to key U.S. mid-west and Canadian markets.

“Container intermodal growth continues to drive investment at the Port of Mobile,” said James K. Lyons, chief executive of the Alabama State Port Authority. Since 2005, the Port Authority and its partners have invested US$535m in shore-side and channel improvements to support the larger container ships calling the Port of Mobile.

“These prior investments have competitively positioned the port and set Mobile as an alternate gateway for U.S. trade. This expansion and our channel deepening and widening program will provide both shippers and carriers with a cost effective, customer service oriented option,” added Lyons. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers harbour modernisation study is underway with a record of decision expected by year-end 2019.