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Port of Mobile welcomes its largest bulk carrier ever — Ship exports 133,000 tons of Ala. met coal

The Alabama State Port Authority announced on Thursday that the largest bulk carrier to ever call on the Port of Mobile loaded over 133,000 short tons of metallurgical grade coal at its McDuffie Coal Terminal.

The Newcastle Max class bulk carrier, “MARAN COURAGE,” reportedly measures 984.2 feet (300 meters) in length overall and has a width of 164 feet (50-meter beam). All of the carrier’s cargo loaded at McDuffie consisted of Alabama met coal bound for Asian markets, according to a release.

Jimmy Lyons, director and CEO for the Alabama State Port Authority, noted that the Newcastle Max call — along with a steady increase in Post-Panamax vessels at the port — are due in part to past and ongoing infrastructure investments.

“We’ve already made investments to service and turn these large ships at the port, and today, we are deepening the port to -50 ft. draft to leverage capacity opportunities afforded by the Post-Panamax class ship,” he stated.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently leading the recently permitted and fully funded harbor modernization program to deepen and widen the Port of Mobile over the next few years. This is a landmark project made possible by the historic leadership of Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), as well as the work by Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature in enacting the Rebuild Alabama Act in 2019.

“When our channel is deepened, the Newcastle Max will be able to load far more tonnage, which in turn provides our customers more capacity and more competitive transportation rates to service international market opportunities,” Lyons added.

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The planned harbor improvements will primarily serve coal and containerized shippers using the larger, Post-Panamax sized vessels. Alabama’s met coal market is in demand and on the upswing with nearly $1.4 billion in recent or planned mining investments.

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The Port Authority, its partners and the federal government have recently invested over $1.2 million combined in further shore-side and channel improvements to service growth in the region’s mining, manufacturing, agriculture and retail distribution industries.

The Alabama State Port Authority owns and operates the State of Alabama’s deep-water port facilities at the Port of Mobile and its public facilities handle more than 26 million tons of cargo annually. The authority’s container, general cargo and bulk facilities have immediate access to two interstate systems, five Class 1 railroads and nearly 15,000 miles of inland waterway connections.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn