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Port of Mobile awarded $300M for infrastructure, intermodal improvements

Federal funds will be used for such projects as docks, dredging and connector bridge

The Alabama State Port Authority is constructing a connector bridge between the APM Terminals container facility at the Port of Mobile and an off-dock intermodal rail yard and a logistics park. (Photo: APM Terminals Mobile)

The Alabama State Port Authority is set to improve infrastructure and intermodal access at the state’s only deepwater port with more than $300 million in federal funding.

The Port of Mobile will receive $265 million from the $1.5 trillion federal spending bill, which the U.S. Senate passed Thursday. The bill now goes to President Biden’s desk for signature.

Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby said the funds are “great news for our Gulf Coast.”

“South Alabama stands to benefit immensely from these investments,” Shelby said in a statement. “Mobile has a lot of potential and this funding will improve upon its existing infrastructure to transform our coast and the entire state.”

The federal spending package contained the following provisions for the Port of Mobile:

  • $132.7 million for improvements to the Port of Mobile, including the design and construction of docks, wharves and piers, as well as for land acquisition and site development.
  • $67.3 million for freight and intermodal rail infrastructure improvements at the Port of Mobile and the Montgomery inland intermodal transfer facility.
  • $65 million to support dredging of the Port of Mobile and multiple inland and intracoastal waterways throughout the state of Alabama.

The DOT also recently awarded a $38 million grant to the Alabama State Port Authority to improve access between ship berths and an intermodal rail facility at the Port of Mobile.

Part of the grant will go toward construction of a connector bridge between the APM Terminals container facility at the port and an off-dock intermodal rail yard and a logistics park. Another portion of the grant will go toward site development and related infrastructure for additional distribution and warehousing at the port.

The Mobile ship channel is currently undergoing a $367 million deepening and widening program to bring in larger vessels. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2025. 

“The port is progressing nicely on the channel modernization program, and we just closed out calendar year 2021 with unprecedented growth at our container intermodal facilities,” John C. Driscoll, CEO of Alabama State Port Authority, said in a statement. 

Containerized cargo volumes in calendar year 2021 increased 19% year-over-year. Refrigerated containers in 2021 posted a 50% increase in volume compared to 2020. 

The Port of Mobile handled 47,768 twenty-foot equivalent units in January, a 17.5% year-over-year increase. Refrigerated containers posted a 21.5% year-over-year increase.

The port’s Intermodal Container Transfer Facility saw a 167.9% year-over-year increase in volume during January, handling 2,579 TEUs. 

Top commodities that pass through the Port of Mobile include heavy lift and oversized cargo, coal, aluminum, iron, steel, copper, lumber, veneers, roll and cut paper, cement, and chemicals.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]