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CN yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Alabama State Port Authority that is intended to improve the Port of Mobile's access to transportation markets in North America.The agreement includes the APM Terminals Mobile LLC, which operates a 95-acre, deep-sea container terminal at the port. The terminal is next to an intermodal rail facility now under construction.The authority is building the $32 million rail terminal, which will allow for the direct transfer of containers between vessels and rail cars starting in spring 2016, CN officials said in a press release."We believe the agreement — similar to ones CN has signed with all of Canada's major ports and intermodal terminals — will extend the geographic reach of the Port of Mobile so that we all can take advantage of potential new container rail traffic following completion of the Panama Canal expansion project in 2016," said JJ Ruest, CN executive vice-president and chief marketing officer.Ruest added: "With increased canal capacity and the new rail facility at the Port of Mobile, CN sees a 'third-coast' opportunity for increased volumes of container traffic entering North America via the Gulf of Mexico."