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Federal maritime commissioners visit Port of Mobile

They discussed the rapid expansion of intermodal rail through the Port of Mobile.

The Port of Mobile Alabama Port Authority

The Alabama Port Authority Wednesday hosted Federal Maritime Commissioners Louis E. Sola and Carl W. Bentzel for a discussion on the rapid expansion of intermodal rail through the Port of Mobile, which continues the service’s triple-digit growth of 143 percent over the same period last year.

“The port is thrilled to welcome Commissioners Sola and Bentzel in addition to leaders from across the state and industry sectors we serve,” said Port Authority Director and CEO, John C. Driscoll. “We are grateful for the enthusiasm for investments in intermodal connectivity at both the federal and state level as we all work together to strengthen and ensure the resiliency of America’s supply chain.”

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is the independent federal agency responsible for regulating the U.S. international ocean transportation system for the benefit of U.S. exporters, importers, and the U.S. consumer. Its mission is to ensure competitive and efficient ocean transportation services.

“This was an important discussion to have today. The growth of intermodal cargo has never been more evident than during the pandemic. It is important that Ports, such as Mobile, capture this growth and work with regional partners and stakeholders to sustain this growth. How operational information is communicated within the supply chain and how infrastructure investments are made will drive regional commerce and opportunities. It’s personally gratifying for me, as a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law and one whose family originated from Mobile, to see such an impressive expansion plan – I truly believe this helps position the State of Alabama to be a leader in intermodal shipping,” said Carl W Bentzel, FMC Commissioner.

The Montgomery Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) project is funded by the State of Alabama’s Growing Alabama Tax Credit and federal grants. The facility is set to come online in 2025. With the Port’s plans for additional intermodal investments throughout the state, the timely conversation with the FMC Commissioners will also include industry stakeholders.

Joining the Commissioners for the roundtable were:

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  • Sumner Adams, Norton Lilly International Chief Compliance & Legal Office
  • Director John Cooper, Alabama Department of Transportation
  • Keith Hancock, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing of Alabama Head of Department for Logistics and Foreign Trade Zones
  • Joachim Hoffman – Mercedes-Benz Extra LLC CEO
  • Maryclare Kenney, Vice President of Intermodal and Automotive Intermodal for CSX
  • Ellen McNair, Montgomery Chamber of Commerce Chief Officer for Economic Development,
  • Alabama State Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield
  • Mayor Sandy Stimpson

The roundtable was led by Patrick Murphy, Vice President of the Mobile Division for Alabama Power Company, and Chairman of the Economic Development Committee of the Mobile Chamber.

The Alabama Port Authority serves all 67 counties in the state of Alabama and has two major projects slated to open in 2025. The deepening and widening of the federal channel to a 50-foot depth will allow larger vessels to make Mobile their first port of call. Also, in 2025, the Port Authority will open a new inland intermodal facility served by CSX in Montgomery, Ala. Both projects, in conjunction with increased growth at the Port’s container terminal, will provide new advantages and opportunities for shippers in Alabama and around the world.

The Port of Mobile is strategically located in the northern Gulf of Mexico with access to an international airport and two interstate systems, I-65 running north/south and I-10 running east/west. The intermodal container transfer facility (ICTF), which will be an on-dock facility by 2025, provides access to five Class I and four short-line railroads. From the ICTF in Mobile, containers can reach Chicago in three days.

The Alabama Port Authority oversees the deep-water public port facilities at the Port of Mobile. In addition to interstate, air, and rail, the Port Authority’s container, general cargo, and bulk facilities have immediate access to nearly 15,000 miles of inland waterways. Once the channel deepening and widening project is completed, the Port of Mobile will be the deepest container terminal in the Gulf of Mexico.

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