The Alabama State Port Authority received word from the US Army Corps of Engineers that its channel surveys have been completed and the Mobile Ship Channel opened Saturday, September 3, 2005. The Mobile Ship Channel has a maximum draft of 42 feet to the McDuffie Terminal and the main port complex has a maximum draft of 40 ft. The Theodore Ship Channel is also authorized to a depth of 40 ft. The Corps will be arranging for dredges to return the Mobile Channel to its normal 45 ft. depth.
The Alabama State Port Authority’s terminals sustained minimal damage from Hurricane Katrina. Rising water deposited mud and debris in the general cargo yards and in most sheds. The Authority has industrial cleanup specialists working round the clock to remove this mud with work expected to be completed by mid-next week. The Authority is unable to receive cargo subject to contamination until the warehouse cleaning is completed.
The Authority’s Pier 2 Container yard also flooded. Many of the containers were empty, but floated during the storm surge leaving the terminal in disarray. Some loaded boxes on the ground got wet. The reach stackers were also flooded leaving them non-operational pending the installation of new electronics. Lease equipment is en route and we should be ready for full container operations upon receipt.
The Authority’s bulk handling areas are in good shape. Electricity was restored to the Bulk Material Handling Plant on August 31 and is ready for operations. Power was also restored at our McDuffie terminal yesterday and cargo handling operations began today.
The Terminal Railway is ready to resume service and is spotting rail cars at the general cargo terminals for loading operations today. The Class 1 carriers have been surveying tracks and inspecting switches and signals. Most of the carriers anticipate resuming service today.
The Authority’s management and employees have been working hard to restore port services. James K. Lyons, Director and CEO of the Authority said, “We were very fortunate to have sustained as little damage as we did. All of us at the Port of Mobile are thinking about our friends to the west and their communities during this most difficult time. These folks will remain in our prayers.”