Containerized cargo volumes continue to climb in 2021 as shippers seek uncongested gateways servicing key North American markets. In August, container volume through the Port of Mobile increased 34 percent over August 2020 volume, while year-to-date volume posted 27 percent over the same period last year, the port reported September 16.
Part of that success is tied to a 37 percent increase in refrigerated containers due to nearly $74 million in refrigerated facilities investment at the port to support cold cargo supply chains. In total, the port handled 327,003 20-foot-equivalent containers (TEUs) through August, and if this pace holds, the port’s year-end volume could top 500,000 TEUs.
The port said added vessel calls to support Asia trade, coupled with retail consumption and congestion through traditional West Coast gateways, contributed to shifts in supply chains as shippers seek both capacity and faster service into Memphis and Chicago.
“Mobile has steadily invested in its container terminals to provide growth-oriented capacity, streamline operations and enhance services,” said Beth Branch, chief commercial officer for the Alabama State Port Authority, operator of the Port of Mobile. “The port expects growth will remain constant primarily due to shipper confidence in Mobile’s ability to service these markets.”
The port’s new intermodal container transfer facility (ICTF) also saw increased volume as shippers opted to utilize Mobile for rail service into Midwest and Canadian markets. The ICTF had its highest throughput ever in August, bringing year-to-date volume to 13,662 container moves, a 200 percent gain over the same period last year. APM Terminals Mobile, which operates the ICTF at Mobile, added two additional rubber-tire gantry cranes earlier this month to support throughput demand and maintain efficiencies at the ICTF.
Brian Harold, managing director of APM Terminals Mobile, noted, “Volume through Mobile is growing at an accelerated pace as customers take advantage of consistent service and ample capacity.”