The Alabama State Port Authority has approved $11.5 million in new contracts for the construction for a rail access bridge and expanded for another year Moffatt and Nichol’s engineering and program management work relating to the port’s Choctaw Point intermodal project.
The construction contract also covers the inspection and testing of a bridge that will connect five Class I railroads and the terminal to an intermodal container transfer facility (ICTF), a rail intermodal facility and the Choctaw Point program.
The ICTF site is currently being readied for construction. Phase one of the facility, which will also benefit from a $12 million U.S. Transportation Department grant, is expected to delivered by the middle of 2014. Workers will complete the ICTF’s first phase by 2015.
By upgrading its services, the port authority is helping reduce the distance regional shippers have to move containerized cargo, lowering their overall costs.
“With this project, we can alleviate time and cost pressures on our customers, expand the container terminal’s natural market reach and provide an intermodal ramp for domestic shipments,” the port authority’s chief executive, James Lyons, said in a statement.
Last fiscal year, the port generated revenues of $144.6 million, a record annual finish that benefitted from expenses for the year that came in $4 million below budget. Management attributes the activity to bumps in steel, export coal and container volumes. The largest year-over-year increases in the general cargo division came from containerized moves, which saw 31-percent, year-over-year growth to 196,965 TEUs. Steel volumes rose 26 percent over 2011’s levels, finishing the fiscal year at 3.9 million tons. Coal exports rose 5 percent, year over year.
Investments, like the port authority’s ICTF, are a major reason for the flurry of activity and the record revenues, Lyons said.
“The port authority’s $700 million investments in new warehouses, post-Panamax cranes, intermodal and rail, along with expanding manufacturing in the region, have transformed the port authority’s business,” Lyons said in a release announcing the year-end numbers. “With continued investment in intermodal and transportation infrastructure, I can see these figures only getting bigger.” - Jon Ross