The State of Alabama and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers entered into the Project Partnership Agreement twio deepen and widen the Port of Mobile to 50 feet in late 2024 or early 2025.
Colonel Sebastien P. Joly, Commander of the Mobile District, and John C. Driscoll, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Alabama State Port Authority, signed the agreement, which allows the Corps of Engineers will move into contracting and construction phases of the approximately $365.7 million project, with construction set to begin by the end of this year.
Mobile Harbor modernization program received full federal funding in February this year upon passage of the Energy & Water Development and Related Agencies Act. Under the Act, approximately $377.6 million is available to qualifying projects in Alabama and two other U.S. Gulf states. Key features of the program will explore innovative ways of executing dredging in a logical, sequenced manner, unconstrained by more traditional project-specific, account-specific or single-year work plans.
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) lauded the final step that allows the Corps to move forward on construction. “Today’s signing of the Mobile Harbor Project agreement is yet another milestone in the process of the deepening and widening the Port of Mobile. The completion of this historic project will transform Alabama, expanding economic opportunities throughout our state and the region. Further, the modernization of Alabama’s primary port will increase the United States’ competitiveness in the global market.”
The Mobile Harbor Modernization project also received the State of Alabama’s funding commitment in March 2019 when Alabama Legislature passed and Gov. Kay Ivey (R-Ala.) signed into law the Rebuild Alabama Act that allocates a portion of state fuel tax proceeds to support approximately $150 million in bonds to meet the federal cost-share requirements for the harbor project. “Beyond the impact on the local and state levels, the Port of Mobile serves as a catalyst to our nation’s competitive position in the global economy. I have been proud to support The Mobile Harbor Modernization project, and I look forward to watching the growing benefits our Port will have in the years to come,” Gov. Ivey said. “The Port of Mobile is now poised to become a major hub for export activity, and this is yet another giant step forward in supporting our industries in the Americas and beyond.”
The Mobile Harbor deepening and widening project received its Record of Decision in September 2019, following an extensive four-year, environmental impact and economic feasibility study. With both federal funding and the state’s match secured, the project can now leverage ongoing terminal investments in Alabama’s only seaport to ensure economies of scale and competitive rates for the seaport’s mining, manufacturing, agribusiness and retail/distribution shippers. Just this past year, the Port Authority completed its $50 million, Phase 3 expansion that added 20 acres of container handling yard and extended 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.
“The Mobile Harbor project leverages shore-side port investments that provide shippers cost competitive transportation solutions in an ever changing and increasingly competitive global economy,” Driscoll said. “I’m deeply appreciative of the groundwork my predecessor, Jimmy Lyons, and the Authority’s team, delivered to realize this important project.”