Port of Mobile channels to be widened

Deepwater channel at the port of Mobile will be widened and deepened. Credit: Alabama State Port Authority

The Alabama State Port Authority (ASPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Mobile District have signed the Mobile Harbour Pre-Construction, Engineering and Design Agreement to establish the construction parameters to deepen and widen Alabama’s only deepwater seaport.   

“This agreement is a critical step towards realising 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 ASPA director and CEO James K Lyons. Under the USACE Record of Decision issued in early September, the project will deepen the existing Bar, Bay, and River Channels Bar, to a project depth of 15.24 m, with additional depths for wave allowances, advanced maintenance, and allowable over depth for dredging.  The project also includes widening the Bay Channel by 328.08 m for 5.5 km to accommodate two-way vessel traffic and other safety improvements. Construction on the modifications is expected to begin in late 2020. 

The harbour 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 USD50 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 totalling USD450 million in marine and rail container intermodal facilities that include two super post-Panamax and two post-Panamax ships to shore gantry cranes. “As demand dictates, we’re positioned to respond quickly to further expansion,” said Lyons.