For the past year, everyone around Mobile, Alabama, has been talking about the large plot of land that was cleared off Highway 10, just fifteen minutes from the port.
In the Spring, Walmart ended the speculation, announcing it was the buyer of the 2.6 million square foot site – equivalent to 45 football fields – and would begin building its single largest regional distribution centre there. The new USD 135 million centre brings 600+ new jobs and an economic boost to the entire region.
The retail giant is just the latest large company to make the Gulf Coast port city its home. Last year, Airbus completed its Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, the company’s first American manufacturing plant, right next to the port.
The growing attraction of the Port of Mobile can be attributed to the cooperation of many parties, including APM Terminals Mobile, the Alabama State Port Authority and state and local legislators. Together they sought to improve Mobile’s attractiveness to trade with infrastructure investments and economic incentives for business that are giving Mobile a reputation as a reliable regional supply chain hub.
Close cooperation boosts business
“Mobile may have been a smaller port for containerised cargo but it’s certainly emerging as a viable gateway, with a very good location on the US Gulf and the infrastructure to support large markets throughout the Southeast and Midwest,” says Brian Harold, Managing Director of APM Terminals Mobile.
The port handled more than 270,000 TEU in 2016, a 20% increase over the previous year and has plenty of opportunity to grow even more. One reason is the expansion of the Panama Canal and the shift in trade it will bring to US East Coast ports. Regional and local cargo is another big opportunity: Harold estimates there are 100,000 containers per year that currently come into or go through Alabama which do not currently use the port of Mobile.