Alabama officials are optimistic that the Port of Mobile soon will be another arrow in the state's quiver of economic benefits to attract automotive companies.
Alabama has become a manufacturing hotbed, with three auto makers—Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz—producing vehicles there with support from hundreds of suppliers that have opened around the assembly plants since the late 1990s. Last year, those international brands cranked out more than 1 million vehicles, and a joint Toyota-Mazda plant is scheduled to open in 2021 in Huntsville.
That timing coincides with the Alabama State Port Authority's completion of an auto terminal in Mobile that economic development officials say will offer more convenient logistics for auto makers.
Mobile is at the southern edge of the state. But the port would be a shorter overland haul for local plants than Brunswick, Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla., or other ports. That translates to reduced shipping costs and speedier transit times to markets in Central America, South America and Asia.