Forbes’ comprehensive analysis of two decades of U.S. trade data has revealed a notable trend in the nation’s points of entry, including international airports, borders, and ports. The standout finding from this analysis is the rapid growth of Alabama’s Port of Mobile, which ranks as the second fastest-growing port in the last decade. Despite being the 42nd largest port in the U.S. by volume, the Port of Mobile exhibited a remarkable 121.84 percent growth, surpassing major airports such as Atlanta International and Chicago O’Hare, and only trailing behind the Port of Corpus Christi in Texas.
John Driscoll, Director and CEO of the Alabama Port Authority, highlighted the port’s significant role in driving Alabama’s economic expansion. “From Mobile to Huntsville, Alabama’s economy is booming, and the Port is proud to be a key player in this growth,” stated Driscoll. He underscored the ambitious future plans for the port, which include over $1 billion in capital investments over the next decade. Key among these projects is the deepening and widening of the ship channel, a move set to make the Port of Mobile the owner of the deepest ship channel in the Gulf of Mexico. This development will enable the port to accommodate heavier ships, enhancing its efficiency and capacity.
Forbes’ report also sheds light on the Port of Mobile’s significant role in various import sectors. The port handles over a billion dollars each in four key categories: oil, motor vehicle parts, aircraft parts, and two types of steel. The leading imports are oil (17 percent), auto parts (8.5 percent), and aircraft parts (6.5 percent).
The port’s success, partly attributed to strategic decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, involved utilizing the Panama Canal and the Port of Mobile for more efficient and cost-effective shipping routes. This growth and expansion not only boost Alabama’s economy but also indicate potential increases in productivity and job opportunities in the region. Bradley Byrne, President and CEO of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, acknowledges the port’s pivotal role in this economic surge as noted in several reports.
The Port of Mobile’s ascent to becoming the second fastest-growing port in the U.S. underscores its crucial contribution to Alabama’s economic development and its potential for future growth, positioning it as a key player in the broader national trade network.