Several legislative leaders toured Alabama’s seaport Thursday, including the container terminal and the McDuffie Coal Terminal.
Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed, Sen. Greg Albritton, Sen. Clay Scofield and Rep. Randall Shedd were escorted through the various facilities by Alabama State Port Authority Director Jimmy Lyons and his management team as well as Alabama Coal Association President Patrick Cagle.
Reed, who represents coal-rich Walker, Tuscaloosa and Jefferson Counties, commented on the state’s growing role in exporting more than $1o million tons of metallurgical coal.
“Coal is a critical part of my district’s economy and directly employs over 4,000 Alabamians, many of which are my constituents,” Reed said. “Most folks do not realize the starting salary of an underground Alabama coal miner is approximately $85,000 per year. Both coal producers and workers rely on our state’s only seaport to cost competitively reach global steel production markets.”
The group was briefed on the operations, investments and Alabama seaport infrastructure necessary for Alabama coal producers to compete globally in the metallurgical coal market.
“McDuffie Terminal is the primary export point for Alabama mined metallurgical coal,” Lyons said.
“With over $1 billion dollars invested in the port and another $200 million in improvements underway, we seek to keep pace with our seaport competitors in the United States. One of the critical initiatives we are addressing is the modernization of our ship channel. Improvements to this channel will ensure Alabama’s place amongst the nation’s leading ports as well as ensure cost competitive infrastructure for Alabama businesses.”
The Port Authority’s McDuffie Terminal in fiscal year 2018 handled a cumulative 13.6 million tons of coal representing a 25 percent increase over the previous fiscal year. Of that total volume, Alabama export metallurgical coal represented over 10 million tons, valued at $1.5 billion dollars,
“Approximately 80% of Alabama’s coal production is comprised of high-quality metallurgical coal, an essential ingredient in the global production of steel,” said Cagle.
The Alabama State Port Authority owns and/or operates the public deep-water port facilities at Alabama’s only seaport handling over 25 million tons of cargo last year. Currently, Alabama’s seaport is ranked 10th largest of the nation’s sixty deepwater seaports. The Authority’s container, general cargo and bulk facilities have direct access to two interstate highway systems, five Class 1 railroads, and nearly 15,000 miles of inland waterway. Learn more at www.asdd.com.