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Study: Port of Mobile holds $85B in statewide economic impact

The Yellowhammer State was the beneficiary of $85 billion in economic impact generated from the Port of Mobile in 2021, according to a study released Monday by the Alabama State Port Authority.

The study, performed by Martin Associates, also shows the port creates around one in seven jobs statewide. A total of 312,896 Alabama jobs can be attributed to the deep-water port.

In addition to the number of jobs created, the Port of Mobile generates $2 billion in tax revenue to the state and local governments on an annual basis, the study said.

The report’s results show a 217% increase in the port’s overall economic impact, a 94% increase in jobs, and a 225% increase in tax revenues since the most recent in 2019.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) has long been a champion of the port, serving to bolster its impact on the state during his tenure in the upper chamber.

According to Shelby, who serves as vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the port’s statewide impact will “continue to improve” for the foreseeable future.

“These results are cause for celebration throughout Alabama,” said Shelby. “The impact that the Port of Mobile has already had on Alabama’s economy is remarkable. I am proud to witness this great news and believe these numbers will continue to improve. I have long known that Alabama’s largest port could have a pivotal impact on the growth of our state.

“Throughout my career, I’ve focused on projects that aim to position Alabama for long-term success, and the Port has been one of those priorities. Its rise is attributable to everyone who has been involved in promoting its growth and the many ways it benefits Alabama. This is just the beginning.”

Port Authority Director and CEO John C. Driscoll said the port’s economic contributions touch “every corner of the state.”

“These numbers make it clear that the Port of Mobile is a tremendous asset to the state of Alabama,” said Driscoll. “Economic activity at the port radiates across the entire state – whether it’s auto manufacturing, agriculture, logistics, space and defense, forest products, energy, or any of the myriad of other industries that make Alabama great, every corner of the state sees some benefit from the port’s work.”

Driscoll echoed Shelby’s sentiments in forecasting that economic activity generated by the port would continue to expand.

“We believe that the Port of Mobile is the most dynamic, compelling port in America, and as we look ahead to an expanded container terminal, a deeper and wider ship channel, intermodal rail, and inland ports, these numbers will only grow,” he said. “While these results are a sign of the progress made to date, we know there is more room for growth in our future and look forward to continuing to deliver for our customers and the entire state.”

Nearly every business line saw an increase in activity generated since 2019, according to the study, which analyzed direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts. The highest growth was recorded in the container cargo, lumber, and liquid bulk sectors.

On the Gulf of Mexico, the port provides access to an international airport and two interstate systems as it serves as vital commerce infrastructure for the Yellowhammer State.

Over the past five years, the Port of Mobile has emerged as the fastest-growing container terminal in the United States, with 54.9% volume growth since 2017.

The port’s intermodal container transfer facility, which will be an on-dock facility by 2025, provides access to five Class I and four short-line railroads. From the Mobile facility, containers can reach Chicago in three days, according to the Alabama State Port Authority.

Once the channel deepening and widening project is completed, the Port of Mobile will be the deepest container terminal on the Gulf of Mexico.

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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