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Alabama port terminals turn 85

On June 25, the Alabama State Port Authority marked the 85th anniversary of the state's terminals at the Port of Mobile.

Dedicated in 1928 as the Alabama State Docks, the terminals first handled loads of export sugar, coal and forest products. Now, the facilities — which are served by five Class Is and located near two interstate highways — handle automotive components, poultry and steel in addition to the three original commodities.

In 2012, the terminals posted significant year-over-year gains in container, steel and export coal volumes, led by containerized freight at 22 percent. More volume growth is expected in the years ahead because of planned investments in intermodal rail, warehousing and terminal upgrades, which will expand the port's capacity and market reach, authority officials said in a press release.

"Our lead project is the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility that will provide, by 2015, an intermodal rail option to our shippers in North Alabama, Tennessee and surrounding states," said James Lyons, the authority's director and chief executive officer. "With continued investment in intermodal and transportation infrastructure, I can see these [cargo volume] figures only getting bigger."

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