By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News
The Port of Mobile had an $85 billion impact on the state in 2021 and it and related businesses generated $2 billion in tax revenue for state and local governments, a recent study said.
The $85 billion in economic value compares to $26.8 billion just two years ago, according to the report by transportation consulting firm Martin Associates.
The port’s public and private terminals handled more than 41.7 million tons of international and domestic cargo for exporters and importers in 2021.
“These results are cause for celebration throughout Alabama,” U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a written statement. “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.”
In 2020, Shelby announced an U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ allocation of $274.3 million for the port, the final funding piece to allow the dredging and expansion of the state’s largest port.
According to the analysis, the Port of Mobile is the fastest growing container terminal in the U.S. over the past five years. Its volume growth since 2017 is 54.9%.
John C. Driscoll, director and CEO of the Alabama Port Authority, said the port’s economic activity radiates across the state and into multiple industries, including auto manufacturing, agriculture and space and defense.
“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,” Driscoll 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 of Alabama.”
Industry analysis shows several of the nation’s largest ports, including those in Houston and Charlotte, have seen significant growth in container traffic this year.
The port has created more than 21,020 direct jobs and another about 282,000 are indirectly tied to the port and the companies that operate in it or use it to transport goods.