Apr. 8, 2021

Minutes of the April 8, 2021 meeting of the Rotary Club of Mobile
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by club president Claire McCarron at 12:15 PM.
Invocation: Allen Ladd offered the invocation.
Pledge: Tommy Blankenship led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Student Guest: There was no student guest this week due to Spring Break for area schools.
Announcements: Claire made the following announcements:
• A board meeting will be held next week following the regular meeting.
• Rotary Happy Hour was held this past Tuesday evening at El Papi and a great time was had by all. Be sure to watch for the next one.
• Please submit updated photos or changes in contact information for the upcoming Roster ASAP.
• Watch the mail for your invitation to the Founders Day cruise the evening of May 14 and please RSVP since space is limited.
Program: Mike Lee: President and CEO of Page & Jones, Inc.
Virginia Guy introduced Mike Lee who brought the club up to date on the latest activities around our port. Included were:
• Dredging of the ship channel to a depth of 50-54 feet to allow larger ships as well as existing ships with larger loads. A planned widening of the channel will permit two ships to pass each other as well. Mike said funds are in place and that routine dredging is underway in the meantime. This will reduce wait time for ships and make the port more appealing to shippers. 2025 is the target date for completion of the project he added.
• The container terminal has been improved and can handle 500,000 containers on site. There are new cranes, and now two ships can be unloaded at once. A new refrigerated warehouse, the largest in North America has been completed and can store 42,000 pallets of frozen food and is in use by Walmart.
• The automobile terminal will allow an increase in the shipment of automobiles through Mobile thanks to a public/private partnership. This will assist in cars manufactured around Alabama as well as up into Tennessee.
• The cruise ship industry is awaiting permission from the CDC to start up and in the meantime is petitioning courts to allow that decision in future to be made at a state, not national level. Cruises may begin in some Gulf ports by July but Mobile’s cruises may not begin before August or September.
• Amtrack Passenger Service is in the news he said and added that the Port Authority and a wide range of businesses are against it unless Amtrack comes up with the funds needed to add an additional track and needed infrastructure. Mike reminded his audience that the passenger trains are given the right of way and without an additional track this may well have a detrimental effect on commerce and as a result, jobs.
Mike answered a number of questions before Claire thanked him for speaking to the club and presented him with a certificate noting that a donation in his honor has been made to the Reach Out and Read program. After announcing the upcoming birthdays of Rotarians Claire adjourned the meeting at 1:00 PM.
Tom McGehee