APM Terminals Mobile, which increased container traffic at the Port of Mobile by 19% in 2016 to a record 277,307 TEUs, is now preparing for the opening of a new import distribution center in Mobile for retail-leader Walmart. Scheduled to become operational in 2018, the distribution center, serving the Southeastern US market, will generate an estimated additional 50,000 TEUs annually moving through Alabama’s primary Gulf of Mexico facility.
In the past year, APM Terminals has gained new service calls from the Far East, with three weekly direct container services linking Mobile with China, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. In April, another weekly container direct service between Mobile and Northern European ports will begin. In 2015 European airplane manufacturing consortium Airbus began importing large plane components by multi-purpose cargo ships from Hamburg, Germany through APM Terminals Mobile for final assembly of the A-320 jetliner at the first American Airbus factory, at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, Alabama, near the port.
“With near 20% growth last year, the Port of Mobile is the growing port in the gulf. With recent developments in Alabama and the Panama Canal we are getting to grow even more”, stated APM Terminals Mobile Director, Brian Harold.
To keep pace with current growth and expanding market opportunities presented by the larger vessels now transiting the widened Panama Canal locks, APM Terminals announced a $47.5 million, Phase 2 expansion at the container terminal last year, to increase annual throughput capacity to 500,000 TEUs. The 95-acre facility, which opened in 2008 with a depth of 45 feet and two STS cranes capable of an 18- row reach, will add two new super-Post Panamax STS cranes with a 22 container-row reach, and expand the container yard by 20 acres by this June.
The new cranes will be able to handle ships up to 14,000 TEU capacity now able to call the Gulf Coast from Asia via the Panama Canal. The port recently widened its turning basin to accommodate vessels of up to 1,300 feet in length. The Alabama State Port Authority and APM Terminals have also invested over $55 million in a new Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, which opened in June 2016 with the Canadian National/Illinois Central providing direct rail service to Memphis, Kansas City, Decatur, and Chicago, as well as Canadian locations.