Minutes of January 6, 2022 meeting
By Monde Donaldson
Call to order: The meeting was called to order by Elizabeth Stevens.
Invocation, Song and Pledge: Richard Stimpson gave the invocation. He was followed by Tommy Blankenship who introduced guests.
RI History Moment: Tom McGehee gave us our Rotary history lesson on hotels.
Student Guest: Julie Otts introduced LeFlore High School counselor Gabarel Lambert who presented their choice for Student of the Week Nyla Reiss.
New member: James Fowler introduced Stephen Worley.
Announcements: Elizabeth congratulated Meg Fowler and Kim Garrett for being named to Mobile Bay Monthly’s 2020 Class of 40 Under 40. Kudos were also given to Michael Chambers for being named Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce’s outstanding Entrepreneur for 2021.
Program: James Fowler introduced Brian Harold, managing director of APM Terminals. The company is part of the global corporation A.P. Moller Maersk Group. They own 76 container terminals. The Mobile facility was opened in 2008 and expanded in 2017 and 2020. The Port of Mobile is the fastest growing port in North America. He attributed some of the initial growth to attracting a Walmart Distribution Center. They get most of their products from Asia and they are the biggest importer in the United States. Walmart was the springboard, he said.
He said APM terminals has patterned its efforts after the Savannah Model. Good land availability, great work force development, more distribution centers and rail access fit the Savannah model which Mobile is following.
The biggest competitors for the Mobile market are Savannah, New Orleans, Charleston, Los Angeles/ Long Beach. Mobile has not had the problem with the supply chain crisis that many other ports have had with cargo ships sitting offshore during the pandemic filled with goods. Mobile has been able to meet expectations. There are more ships off the coast of California than we handle in a week, he said.
The future for Mobile terminal looks bright, he noted., with the 2025 deepening and widening of the Mobile Ship Channel to allow two ships to come and go at the same time and the efforts of Mobile and Baldwin County leaders. The biggest boost recently was Gov. Kay Ivey’s announcement of $71.6 million to connect the Port of Mobile with the McCalla Intermodal Facility near Birmingham. This is actually part of a $231 million rail project program aimed at enhancing economic development infrastructure in central and south Alabama. He did say, however, a stumbling block that needs to be addressed and is now back on the table – a new Mobile Bay bridge. In his opinion, a new 1-10 connector is a must when it comes to recruiting new businesses to the area.
Closing remarks: Elizabeth congratulated Nyla for being named Student of the Week and asked members to meet new member Stephen. The meeting was adjourned.