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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / Alabama Port Authority announces new inland intermodal facility, CSX intermodal service from Mobile

Alabama Port Authority announces new inland intermodal facility, CSX intermodal service from Mobile

By | January 31, 2022

First phase of construction of facility in Montgomery, Ala., to take two years, cost up to $54 million

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The Port of Mobile will gain regular CSX intermodal service in connection with construction of an inland port in Montgomery, Ala. (Alabama State Port Authority, via Facebook)
Aerial view of port complex
The Port of Mobile will gain regular CSX intermodal service in connection with construction of an inland port in Montgomery, Ala. (Alabama State Port Authority, via Facebook)

MOBILE, Ala. — The Alabama Port Authority will build an intermodal container transfer facility in Montgomery, Ala., to be served by CSX Transportation, after the authority’s board of directors approved a $2.042 million purchase of 272 acres for the new inland terminal to serve traffic from the Port of Mobile.

The first phase of the facility, about 170 miles northeast of Mobile, could take up to two years to build and cost up to $54 million.

The plan, announced Friday, will reestablish regularly scheduled CSX intermodal service at the Port of Mobile. CSX will contribute up to $12.5 million toward infrastructure improvements.

“This is another great example of how successful partnerships can help foster creative solutions for CSX customers,” Tom Tisa, head of business development for CSX, said in a press release. “These infrastructure investments will provide the opportunity to grow our business in the region.” John C. Driscoll, port authority CEO, said the project “will provide our shippers cost-competitive transportation services to and from one of the nation’s fastest growth containerized cargo gateways.”

The new inland terminal will serve customers including a recently announced, 650,000-square-foot Amazon distribution center and a recently expanded Hyundai auto manufacturing plant. The port authority says the project will generate 2,618 direct and indirect jobs, $340 million in business revenues, and more than $14.2 million in state and local taxes.

The announcement comes at a time when the port authority and its short line railroad, the Terminal Railway Alabama State Docks, have vocally opposed Amtrak’s efforts to launch passenger service between New Orleans and Mobile, and supported concerns by CSX and Norfolk Southern over the impact of those two daily round trips on freight movements [see “CSX, NS say Gulf Coast passenger service would ‘devastate’ freight operations,” Trains News Wire, Nov. 4, 2021]. The authority argued in a November filing with the Surface Transportation Board that two daily round trips will “impair TASD’s provision of freight transportation unreasonably” unless Amtrak provides mitigation up to and including construction of a flyover to allow the short line to operate between its two yards without using the CSX main line.

5 thoughts on “Alabama Port Authority announces new inland intermodal facility, CSX intermodal service from Mobile

  1. Sounds like a worthwhile project and great use of taxpayer money. Wish I was better at math so please help me. $54 million dollar project, two years to build an intermodal facility and container parking lot. At a wide spot in the road. $2 million for the land and $12.5 from CSX. What’s the other $40 million for,where is that coming from, and when?

  2. So all of this comes up now? Seems fishy this was never brought previously up by the APA, CSX, NS or others in their fight against Amtrak.

    1. I would surmise this project was still in its contractual quiet period and so they could only protest, but not share the detail why.

  3. Corporate welfare. Last week Trains reported the Class 1s had record profits, yet they are shaking down Alabama taxpayers for tens of millions for infrastructure that largely benefits CSX. These are the same guys that wanted hundred of millions for New Orleans to Mobile Amtrak service.

    This is wrong and a symptom of what is wrong with the present system.

  4. This is all a bunch of BS. CSX has for years had the opportunity to access the Alabama State Docks intermodal facility but hasn’t done so. The Mobile facility was built so that CSX could pull trains from the south end and the track were particularly built except for a short connection and switch on the CSX main line. The facility being built in Montgomery will be used to store and stage containers destined for points in central Alabama including the Hyundai plant. But at 170 miles from the port of Mobile the chance of CSX taking containers off I-65 between Mobile and Montgomery is slim at best. Even if CSX wanted too which they don’t. It takes the State Docks on average 24 hours for containers to be offloaded from a ship and placed on a railcars. And that’s before the train moves one inch toward its destination. How can that compete with trucks that cut that time in half or better. Living in Mobile I see hundreds of containers on trucks moving up and down I-65 every day and would love to see them on the railroads. But 170 miles is too short a distance for CSX to make money, at least that’s what they’ve always indicated in the past. The reality is that the anti Amtrak government here in Alabama has along with CSX concocted this big lie. The intent is to blame any passenger train service that might serve Mobile in the near future for CSX not using the facility and truck traffic continuing to use I-65. It’s a no lose proposition for CSX and the state to spread this new crap even if Amtrak never arrives in Mobile, which I doubt it ever will. If Amtrak never arrives then they’ll quietly forget ever having mentioned CSX serving the new facility. If Amtrak does somehow manage to finally return to Mobile then they’ll blame them for CSX’s not participating. Unfortunately that’s the sad way our present and probably future government works here in Alabama.

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