Mobile terminal touts import access to coveted Midwest destinations

Reminder comes amid supply chain congestion on lanes from West Coast ports to Chicago

APM Terminals Mobile in Alabama is putting a spotlight on its freight rail capacity to handle imported goods from the Gulf Coast to Chicago and other popular Midwestern destinations.

The reminder comes as supply chains are grappling with congestion at Chicago as stakeholders seek to reduce the backlog of imports coming from West Coast ports into the city, long a popular distribution hub linking Western and Eastern rail networks.

The terminal is part of A.P. Moller-Maersk.

APM says it has access to five Class I railroads that have daily departures to the Midwest, and it has five Asia/U.S. liner services calling at the Port of Mobile. 

“We’re trying to help alleviate Midwest supply chain pressures for customers. Ocean carriers are looking for more gateway options into the Midwest market. We’ve got berth space available and 35 moves per hour per crane berth productivity,” said APM Terminals Managing Director Brian Harold. “Our rail product is a consistent performer that can handle much more volume.” The near-dock rail yard allows seamless ship-to-rail transfer, he said.

Among the service offerings are CN’s (NYSE: CNI) 2.5-day direct doublestack service and northbound refrigerated packs for cold chain caroges, according to the terminal. The terminal has an on-dock rail facility that consists of two operating tracks, a loop track and a car repair track. The five Class I railroads serving the terminal are CN, CSX (NASDAQ: CSX), Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC), Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU) and BNSF (NYSE: BRKB).

“For customers looking to transload Midwest cargo or deliver containers to local distribution centers, APM Terminals Mobile has an average waiting time to enter the terminal for truckers of seven minutes with a total turn time of 51 minutes once in the terminal. 81% of the truck moves at APM Terminals Mobile are dual moves (where a trucker is bringing in a container for drop-off and picking up a container for delivery) which generates optimal supply chain flow,” the terminal said in a release on Monday.

APM Terminals seeks to become a 1.5 million-TEU port, compared with 2019 volumes of 419,000 TEUs, according to its website. A container berth expansion in March 2020, a container yard expansion in November 2019 and an expanded truck gate in 2020 are all projects APM Terminals hopes will support that goal. Meanwhile, the Alabama State Port Authority plans to deepen the Mobile harbor to accommodate larger vessels.

Subscribe to FreightWaves’ e-newsletters and get the latest insights on freight right in your inbox.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.