Containers are loaded onto the Mediterranean Shipping Co. Pilar cargo ship at the APM terminal yard at the Port of Mobile in Mobile, Alabama. (Luke Charette/Bloomberg News)
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Economic growth is expected after the Alabama Ports Authority announced on February 7 that it will partner with CSX Transportation to build a new intermodal container transportation facility in Decatur, Alabama, linking north Alabama to the Port of Mobile. .
The new facility, the Port Authority’s second inland rail facility after Montgomery, is scheduled to open in 2025 and will transfer shipping containers between rail and truck. Both facilities will help get goods from Mobile into the state.
“Decatur is strategically located with river, highway and rail connections, and this facility, located around the CSX depot, will take advantage of that,” said Jeremy Nails, president of the Morgan County Economic Development Association. Deaf,” he said.
The announcement comes after the Port Authority reported last week that the state’s overall economic impact in 2022 will be $98 billion. Governor Kay Ivey said the Port of Mobile supports more than 351,000 jobs. According to Forbes magazine, it is the second fastest growing port in the country in the last 10 years.
“This will be a north Alabama site similar to the Montgomery site,” said City Council President Jacob Ladner. “It’s kind of a continuation of the goods and services being shipped. This particular one is obviously here on the rail branch in Decatur.”
Ladner said he learned about the facility on Feb. 5 during a phone call with Port Authority officials. He has since researched the facility planned for Montgomery and said he liked what he saw.
“That’s obviously a good thing,” he said. “I’ve talked to some people in Montgomery about their facilities. I don’t think they’ve actually opened yet, but we’ve already received 20 calls from companies that would like to locate and benefit from these areas. We’ve received over $100 million in investment.”
Ladner said he doesn’t expect Decatur to see “massive” job growth immediately once the facility opens. Instead, he expects growth to come gradually as new industries come in to take advantage of the facility.
The location of the CSX depot where the new facility will be built.
“In the short term, we expect to see construction jobs, and in the long term, as business grows, we expect to see an increase in logistics and transportation jobs at all levels,” Nails said.
If the number of people increases, the amount of traffic may also increase. The use of rail will help ease highway and interstate traffic, according to the Port Authority, but local traffic may not have as much of a positive impact, Ladner said. He hopes the facility will help secure funding for another bridge across the Tennessee River.
“We have to cross the river and achieve it in a different way, and I think this moves us further in that direction,” he said. “This is a long project, but I think this is another reason we can offer to the people making the decisions to help with that process.”
The results of the first phase of the feasibility study for the new bridge will be presented to City Council this month, said Dwayne Hellams, director of transportation planning at the Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Hellams said the second phase of the study will take into account environmental restrictions and narrow down the locations. If funding for the second phase is approved, he expects it to take about a year and a half to complete.
In a press release from the Port Authority, Director and CEO John Driscoll said the new Decatur facility advances the region’s logistics infrastructure.
“This expansion not only demonstrates our confidence in the local economy, but also reflects our continued efforts to meet the evolving needs of our customers while contributing to the growth of the communities we serve. ” he said.
Mayor Tab Bowling said in a statement that the announcement is a “significant step forward” in Decatur’s economic impact trajectory.
“The creation of the North Alabama ICTF brings tremendous economic potential to Decatur and the entire North Alabama region. I am excited to witness the North Alabama ICTF project come to fruition in Decatur.” Stated. “This is a landmark achievement in strengthening the economic vitality of our city.”
The new facility will be built at the CSX rail yard, Nails said.
“For the state, it gives north Alabama businesses new options to market their products and helps them compete on price with competitors around the world,” he said.