By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, July 6, 2017, US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) toured Alabama’s Port of Mobile to view the two new super post-Panamax cranes recently installed. Alabama State Port Authority Director Jimmy Lyons conducted the tour and informed Senator Shelby about the benefits that the port’s growth will bring to the State of Alabama and the Gulf Coast region.
Sen. Shelby said, “The Port of Mobile is one of the fastest growing harbors in the nation. I am encouraged by the current growth and the future economic development opportunities directly tied to the port. Mobile’s two new cranes, which are the biggest in the world, will allow the port to increase productivity, create jobs, and continue to expand.”
Alabama State Port Authority director and chief executive officers James K. Lyons said in a statement, “Regional manufacturing growth and now landing retail giant, Walmart, is strengthening a vision we launched back in 2001 to create state-of-the-art container intermodal facilities to fuel regional investment and jobs creation.
Alabama State Port Authority and APM Terminals investments continue to pay off in 2016 with an increase in container traffic at the port by 19 percent last year to a record 277,307 TEUs. The port is now preparing for the opening of Walmart’s announced import distribution center in Mobile, which will bring additional new business in 2018.
APM Terminals announced a $47,5 million Phase 2 expansion last year in order to keep pace with current growth and expanding market opportunities presented by the larger vessels now transiting the widened Panama Canal locks. The expansion at the container terminal will increase annual throughput capacity to 500,000 TEUs. The 95-acre facility, which opened in 2008 with a depth of 45 feet and two STS cranes capable of an 18- row reach added two new super-Post Panamax STS cranes with a 22 container-row reach, and expand the container yard by 20 acres.
The new cranes can handle ships up to 14,000 TEU capacity now able to call the Gulf Coast from Asia via the Panama Canal. The port recently widened its turning basin to accommodate vessels of up to 1,300 feet in length. The Alabama State Port Authority and APM Terminals have also invested over $55 million in a new Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, which opened in June 2016 with the Canadian National/Illinois Central providing direct rail service to Memphis, Kansas City, Decatur, and Chicago, as well as Canadian locations.
In the past year, APM Terminals has gained new service calls from the Far East, with three weekly direct container services linking Mobile with China, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. In April, another weekly container direct service between Mobile and Northern European ports will begin. In 2015 European airplane manufacturing consortium Airbus began importing large plane components by multi-purpose cargo ships from Hamburg, Germany through APM Terminals Mobile for final assembly of the A-320 jetliner at the first American Airbus factory, at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, Alabama, near the port.
APM Terminals Mobile Director Brian Harold said, “With near 20 percent growth last year, the Port of Mobile is the growing port in the gulf. With recent developments in Alabama and the Panama Canal we are getting to grow even more.”
Hague, Netherlands based APM Terminals operates a network of 74 port and terminal facilities with 8 new ports under construction as well as 140 inland services operations in 69 countries.
The Authority’s container, general cargo and bulk facilities have direct access to two interstate highway systems, five Class 1 railroads, and nearly 15,000 miles of inland waterway.
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Senator Richard Shelby has served the people of Alabama as US Senator since his election in 1986. Prior to this he served in the United States House of Representatives and the Alabama Senate.