APM Terminals Mobile to serve as primary port for new Walmart regional distribution center
APM Terminals Mobile welcomes Arkansas-based global retail giant Walmart’s plans for a new International Distribution Center to be opened 15 miles from the port. The sixth of Walmart’s US international distribution centers, the Irvington, Alabama facility will handle Walmart’s import cargoes destined for Walmart’s Regional Distribution Centers in the American South. The recently completed Panama Canal lock widening project will permit vessels of up to 13,000 TEU capacity to transit the canal, bringing larger vessels and new opportunities to the deep-water terminal strategically located on the US Gulf Coast.
The APM Terminals Mobile terminal opened in September of 2008. With a depth of 45 feet, the facility is currently equipped with two STS cranes capable of a 19-row reach. APM Terminals Mobile is adding two new super-Post Panamax STS cranes with expected delivery in June 2017, and is expanding the container yard by 20 acres as part of a $40 million infrastructure investment which will increase the terminal’s annual throughput capacity to 500,000 TEUs.
China COSCO Shipping’s first Gulf of Mexico Express (GME) joint service call linking China with the Port Mobile via the Panama Canal began on June 4th, 2016 with the arrival of the 5,100 TEU capacity COSCO Boston. On June 9th, 2016 a trans-Pacific service operated jointly by the 2M Alliance partners Danish-based Maersk Line and Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (known as the “TP18” service for Maersk Line, and the “Lone Star Service” for MSC), made its maiden call to APM Terminals Mobile, with the 7,900 TEU capacity Maersk Kawasaki. These two new services represent the second and third trans-Pacific strings with direct calls to APM Terminals Mobile, with the “PEX3” weekly service operated by French-based CMA-CGM and their Ocean’s Alliance partners, which began calling the Port of Mobile in January 2009.
APM Terminals, Canadian National Rail (CN), and the Alabama State Port Authority have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to increase intermodal container traffic moving by rail through the Port of Mobile. A new Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) which opened in June 2016, adjacent to the port, provides direct service by the CN railroad to Memphis, Tennessee and Chicago, Illinois, with connections to Jackson, Mississippi; Indianapolis, Indiana; Detroit, Michigan and Canadian destinations. The ICTF, built at a cost of USD $60 million, includes two operating tracks, a loop track, and car repair track of 3,000 feet (914 meters) in length.
Walmart, with 4,488 retail locations in the United States, selected the Mobile, Alabama port location with these new cargo handling and intermodal capabilities in mind. Mobile is also the point of entry for Airbus passenger plane components which are moved to the
USD $600 million Airbus factory and assembly facility at the nearby Brookley Aeroplex, representing another major business making site selections close to the Port of Mobile.
The $135 million Walmart Irvington distribution center is scheduled to open in mid-2018, representing new annual container traffic of an estimated 50,000 TEUs annually through the Port of Mobile.