How Mobile is Emerging as Next Major U.S. Port
When you think of major U.S. ports, the obvious ones that come to mind are probably the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on the West Coast, the Ports of New York and New Jersey on the East Coast, and the Gulf Port of Houston.
Of course, there are many more U.S. ports worth mentioning; however, one that many would not think to bring into the conversation is the Port of Mobile.
That could be about to change.
The Port of Mobile is Alabama’s only deep water port, and it is not as though it doesn’t already have significance in the importing and exporting of goods. But right now, the Port of Mobile is on the verge of significant growth that could see it take a chunk of market share from both East Coast and West Coast ports like the Ports of Los Angeles and New York while making it a serious contender with the Port of Houston in the Gulf Coast.
How is the Port of Mobile doing it?
The first is container terminal expansion such as the ones in the Alabama State Port Authority press release of June 16th of last year:
The Alabama State Port Authority (ASPA) welcomed APM Terminals’ announced plans to add two new super-Post Panamax cranes and expand the container facility at the Port of Mobile. The Port Authority and APM Terminals partnered in 2005 to construct Phase I of the container terminal at Choctaw Point to provide customers with access to global networks covering all possible trade routes to and from the Port of Mobile. Under the concession agreement, APM Terminals operates the terminal.
APM Terminals $40 million infrastructure investment will improve approximately 20 acres to increase the container terminal’s capacity to 475,000 TEUs. APM Terminal’s expansion will compliment approximately $50 million invested by the Port Authority to construct an Intermodal Container Transfer Facility that could be serviced by five Class I railroads, including the Canadian National, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Kansas City Southern and BNSF. The Intermodal Container Transfer Facility is under construction with a first quarter 2016 completion.
Many Gulf and East Coast ports have been undergoing expansion projects as the Panama Canal expansion draws nearer to completion in the hopes of receiving bigger ships and more containerized cargo shipments through it.
However, the Port of Mobile also has Canadian National Railway working to make Mobile a gateway to the Midwest and Mid-South parts of the U.S., utilizing that $50 million Intermodal Container Transfer Facility mentioned in the press release quoted above.
With major congestion bogging down West Coast ports, often stemmed from ILWU labor strife, and winter weather often causing congestion at East Coast ports like New York, the Port of Mobile is in a perfect spot to take advantage, handling containerized goods that can easily move via rail to other parts of the country.
Already, success can be seen as Maersk Line, MSC, China Cosco Shipping, and Hanjin Shipping have announced new services that will regularly call on the Port of Mobile.
Expect to see major growth at the port.