The board of directors of the Alabama State Port Authority has approved the purchase of a 272-acre site in Montgomery, which will allow the authority to construct a container terminal close to the Hyundai plant and other major potential clients, according to the organization.
In a regular meeting held on Tuesday in Mobile, Alabama, the board of directors reached this conclusion. As a result, Director John C. Driscoll will be allowed to exercise his purchase option, which has been in effect since June, and complete the land acquisition for $2,042,400 plus closing fees.
A container terminal in Montgomery, Alabama, like the previously announced rail link between Alabama and the United States, is an attempt to address an incongruous situation: Alabama is home to a Gulf Coast port that includes a container terminal that has recently emerged as one of the country’s fastest-growing operations, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Additionally, the port offers an intermodal facility for loading and unloading cargo containers from trains, in addition to numerous rail links. Although this is the case, until recently, there was little or no containerized rail service between the port and Alabama’s industrial centers.
Driscoll has made developing multimodal transportation a primary focus for the company since taking over as director in January 2019. “This is our number one new development program,” he said when asked about his favorite new development program after the vote. “This is our number one new development program.”
While the $2 million site purchase is only a small part of the larger plan for the Montgomery complex, which is estimated to cost $54 million in total and would employ 2,000 people, it is nonetheless significant. According to Driscoll, the remainder of the funds will come from a variety of other places. State and federal grants and allocations are planned, as well as investment by CSX Transportation, which the railroad will recoup through a state tax credit program, and investment by whichever partner company is selected to run the terminal. CSX Transportation will invest, and the railroad will recoup its investment through a state tax credit program. It is anticipated that CSX Transportation will make an investment, with the railroad recouping its costs through the use of a state tax credit scheme.
Port authorities, according to Driscoll, are hopeful that the next steps in the process will be finished as swiftly as possible because of competition from another port. As he puts it, “we’re in an arms race against Savannah.” It is his belief that if the Georgia Ports Authority builds a similar facility near the Kia plant south of LaGrange, Ga., it will be sufficiently close to serve consumers from both Georgia and South Carolina. Similar to Alabama’s Port Authority, Georgia’s Port Authority has been seeking to strengthen its intermodal container transportation linkages in order to compete for business.
In addition to being around one mile from the Hyundai factory, Driscoll claims that the Montgomery location is directly near to the main rail line of the CSX corporation. Furthermore, it would be in close proximity to an Amazon fulfillment center that will be opening in Montgomery later this year, according to the developer.