Big Payback at the Port
For several years, the Alabama State Port Authority has been making the facilities at the Port of Mobile bigger, deeper, wider and stronger. Payback on the investments began this summer when a single Post-Panamax ship brought in the port’s biggest steel shipment ever, turned, moved to another dock, and loaded one of the biggest outbound coal shipments ever.
Post-Panamax refers to the width of ships, in this case too wide for the maximum that could navigate the Panama Canal.
New facilities at the port include a Post-Panamax crane, one that’s big enough to load containers 18 abreast; an improved turning basin and a 45-foot channel.
The combination of new facilities allowed the M/V Britannia G to unload 98,694 short tons of steel—that’s 4,243 slabs—at the Pinto Steel Terminal in mid-June, then move to the McDuffie Terminal and load 110,990 short tons of coal, one of the port’s largest coal export shipments.
“Our infrastructure investments at the Port of Mobile to handle larger vessels are beginning to pay off for our shippers,” says Jimmy Lyons, ASPA’s director and CEO.
Lyons notes that much of the cargo, inbound and outbound, also traveled part of its trip via the state’s inland waterways. All of the steel arriving through the Pinto Terminal heads north on the Tombigbee River, he says, and about half the export coal travels to the port on the Warrior Tombigbee Inland Waterway.