MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – The Port of Mobile continues to set records as the fastest growing container terminal in the country. The port is in a great position to support shipping into and out of the central part of the country. Director and CEO for the Port of Mobile John Driscoll explains what that growth means for the port and for Mobile.
Read the full interview below or watch it in the video above.
Bill: Well, the Port of Mobile continues to set records as the fastest growing container terminal in the country.
Jessica: And while supply chain disruptions continue nationwide, the Port of Mobile has allowed shippers to avoid delays and move their cargo quickly and efficiently. Joining us this morning on the Red Couch, John Driscoll, Director and CEO the Port of Mobil, talking about the Port of Mobile success this morning.
John Driscoll, Director and CEO Port of Mobile: Yes, no, it’s been fantastic. We’ve been very fortunate. Like Bill said, over the last five years, we’ve been the fastest growing container report in the country, which is phenomenal.
Bill: Wow. What’s led to that? I know just this year, stretching into last year, we’ve had all these disruptions at other ports. Sure. Has that some of that shifted over to the Port of Mobile?
John Driscoll; Great question. Yes, some of that has, there’s no doubt. But this is a process. You know, you don’t just shift your supply chains overnight or in months. It’s really a long term process planning process. So this shift that’s happened really started more than five years ago to really have people move their cargo through a port that they can rely on. That’s fluid. That’s you know, they can just move their cargo in and out in a timely manner. So this process started probably five or six years ago.
Jessica: And tell us about the success at the Port of Mobile. What what is making that success? What’s making it work that’s different than at other port?
John Driscoll: Sure. You know, the customers, I think, realize that the Port of Mobile, Alabama, is only deep water seaport is some place that you can come. You can get your ships in, you can get the cargo off, you can get it delivered in the same for the reverse, for the export. You can get it down through our gateway in and out.
And we’ve been finding a lot of cargo coming through our gateways going to rail. We have nine railroads that touch the seaport, five of them, or what they call class one, the largest railroads in the United States. They call in, they touch the port of Mobile So that really has given us an advantage to be able to move cargo not only to our region, to our state, connecting states, but throughout the Midwest part of our country.
Bill: And you put some perspective on that. You could be handling a million containers this year.
John Driscoll: Well, not this year. Last year we handled over 500,000 containers. They call them 20 foot equivalent units. We are expanding the facility. This is going to be the fourth expansion since we opened. It’s one of the newest modern container terminals in the United States. It opened in 2008. We’ve gone through three expansion. We just signed a deal with the operator of the Terminal APM Terminals, which is a great terminal operator, to basically do a Phase four expansion.
It’s a $74 million expansion that will allow them to get to 1 million Teus in two years when that expansion is complete.
Bill: We’re also looking at deepening the channel. What effect is that going on?
John Driscoll: Yeah, that’s Transformational and that’s something that’s really going to add additional capacity. These larger ships, ships are getting larger and larger in the world, right? I mean, ships are 1400 feet long. So this deepening and widening of the channel will allow us to be able to handle those deeper and wider and bigger ships
Jessica: Real quickly. People that are watching at home that are waiting for a shipment, we joked about that.
All right. Obviously, we don’t know as a consumer where your goods are coming from or where they’re being imported to. Correct. But shipping delays nationwide, are we seeing a trend toward this getting better? Are we going to get our furniture faster or whatever?
John Driscoll: Yeah, no. Great question, Jessica. Yeah, it actually is is clearing up for the West Coast, the south, the Pacific Southwest, namely Long Beach in L.A. That’s where a year ago they had container ships, probably 104, I think, was the peak number of ships waiting to dock into work. They’re basically they have no delays now. That delay now has actually shifted. Savannah has about 40 ships that are delayed. Houston has about 25. New York, New Jersey probably has about 19 ships, something like that. So it’s it’s getting better. The process is getting better. The good thing is that your port Alabama’s port, doesn’t have that problem.
Bill: John Driscoll for the Port of Mobile. Thanks very much for being here.