An agreement signed October 2 by the Alabama State Port Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers marks another step forward in plans to deepen and widen the Port of Mobile.
“This agreement is a critical step toward realizing the port’s ability to accommodate the larger ships serving the world’s major trade lanes, while improving vessel transit efficiencies and safety in our port,” said the port authority’s director and chief executive officer James K. Lyons.
The project will deepen the existing Bar, Bay and River Channels Bar, by 5 ft each to a project depth of 50 ft, (15.24 m), with additional depths for wave allowances, advanced maintenance, and allowable over depth for dredging (total depths of 56 ft, 54 ft, and 54 ft, respectively). The project also includes widening the Bay Channel by 100 feet (32.8 m) for three nautical miles to accommodate two-way vessel traffic and other safety improvements. Construction on the modifications is expected to begin in late 2020.
The harbor improvement project is keeping pace with ongoing terminal investments in Alabama’s seaport to ensure economies of scale and competitive rates for the seaport’s shippers. The Port Authority will complete its $50 million, Phase 3 container terminal expansion in early 2020 delivering another 20 acres of handling yard and extending the dock to allow simultaneous berth of two Post-Panamax sized ships. The project complements prior investments totaling $450 million in marine and rail container intermodal facilities that include two Super Post-Panamax and two Post-Panamax ship to shore gantry cranes. “As demand dictates, we’re positioned to respond quickly to further expansion,” said Lyons.