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Mid-Gulf ports enhancing infrastructure while attracting new commercial activity

Jun 21 2016
Throughout the central Gulf region, ports and their private-sector partners are advancing major infrastructure projects serving oil and gas interests and more.

Even though fossil energy industries have seen better days, commercial activity remains strong at mid-Gulf ports, which are readying to efficiently handle still greater volumes in the future.

Starting in Alabama and proceeding westward across Mississippi and Louisiana, here’s the latest at major ports of the central Gulf region:

Alabama State Port Authority

The Alabama State Port Authority has just completed the $50 million first phase of an intermodal container transfer facility, along with a new rail bridge and additional yard improvements, providing container shippers ready railway links to Jackson, Miss.; Memphis; Decatur, Ill.; Chicago and destinations in Canada, with Canadian National Railway the first to actively market the ICTF.

The Port of Mobile container terminal served by the ICTF, operated by APM Terminals Mobile, is looking to complete by early 2017 a $47 million second-phase expansion to include two super-post-Panamax cranes plus 20 additional acres of improved yard area.

Not waiting until then are calls from a newly established 2M Alliance all-water service from Asia, combining Maersk Line’s TP18 and Mediterranean Shipping Co.’s Lone Star Express. Calls in China are at Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Xiamen and Yantian, with stops at Busan in South Korea, the Panamanian port of Cristóbal and Houston before Mobile and on to Miami. Joining CMA CGM’s PEX3 service, the latest addition is the second all-water Asia-U.S. Gulf service to call Mobile.
Port of Pascagoula

On the Mississippi coast, about 40 miles southwest of Mobile, the Jackson County Port Authority’s Port of Pascagoula has razed a fire-ravaged warehouse at Terminal A, freeing up 80,000 square feet for open storage along a rehabilitated dock area at the port’s Pascagoula River Harbor, where deepening to 42 feet from 38 feet is scheduled to begin later this year. A separate endeavor for widening of the Bayou Casotte Channel to 450 feet from 350 feet is under feasibility study, with federal assumption of channel maintenance expected in late 2016.

The port has recently been receiving multiple shipments of coated pipe from Greece, totaling 30,000 tons, and has added a monthly service exporting lumber, plywood, poles and other forest products to the Dominican Republic.
Meanwhile, Pascagoula’s longtime port director, Mark McAndrews, has been elected to be sworn in in October to begin a one-year term as board chairman of the hemispheric American Association of Port Authorities.

By American Journal of Transportation

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