The Port of Mobile’s growing economic impact on Alabama continues to multiply — with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. According to a study commissioned by the Alabama Port Authority, it generated a $98.3 billion economic impact for the state in 2023.
That represents a $13 billion jump from 2022’s impact.
“While our Gulf Coast port might be called ‘The Port of Mobile,’ what the staggering economic impact number of $98 billion means is that it is really ‘The Port of Alabama,’” Governor Ivey said from the steps of the State Capitol on Thursday.
“Whether it’s our booming automotive industry, exports of natural resources such as coal and limestone and countless other Alabama-made and Alabama-sourced goods, the Port of Mobile touches every corner and every industry in our state.”
“The future is bright for our port, and I look forward to seeing its growth continue to contribute and impact all of Alabama.”
The Port supports 351,359 jobs in Alabama, representing one out of every 7 jobs statewide. These jobs amount to $22.5 billion in income for Alabamians across all 67 counties.
Senator Greg Reed (R-Jasper), President Pro Tem of the Alabama Senate, called the Port an “economic powerhouse” that is growing everyday.
“With coal being one of the largest exports of the port, and my district being the state’s largest producer of coal – the success of the coal industry in Alabama and the Port of Mobile are inextricably linked,” said Reed.
“I’m a proud supporter of the port and its mission, and I’m pleased but not surprised to see the incredible economic impact it has on our great state.”
Alabama State House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter, who lives in North Alabama several hours away from Mobile, said that he sees the Port’s influence in his home district.
“Geographically, my home district couldn’t be much further from the Port of Mobile, but the port’s impact on my district – and virtually all of my members’ districts in the Alabama House – is very present,” Ledbetter said. “It’s clear that our commitment to investing in the Port is netting remarkable returns for our state, and it’s vital we continue to support this economic engine for Alabama’s continued success.”
Port Authority leadership anticipates further, rapid growth.
“Alabama’s port has had tremendous growth – and we’re just getting started,” said Alabama Port Authority Director and CEO John Driscoll. “These impact numbers show both the benefit of Alabama’s port to our entire state, and the key role of state investments in helping achieve that growth.”
“With more than $1 billion in capital projects underway, we expect this growth to continue, and more importantly, keep making Alabama businesses more competitive globally.”
The Port currently has more than $1 billion in capital projects underway statewide. Many of which are primarily funded through federal budget appropriations and grants championed by former Senator Richard Shelby.
The Port Authority will expand its capabilities to one million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit cargo container) upon completing the Phase IV expansion at the container terminal. In addition to the terminal expansion and the harbor deepening and widening project, the Alabama Port Authority plans to develop logistics facilities in Mobile and open a new inland intermodal facility served by CSX in Montgomery, Ala.
These projects are set to begin operation within the next two years and will provide new advantages and opportunities for shippers.
Other planned investments include constructing a fly-over bridge to create on-dock rail access at the container terminal, modernizing general cargo piers, and developing an inland intermodal facility in North Alabama. The Alabama State Legislature also allocated $20 million in 2023 to modernize the Port’s McDuffie Coal Terminal.
In 2022 alone, the Port and its related industries gave back $2.4 billion in taxes to the state, local governments, and the federal government.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.