Retail giant Walmart will invest at least $135 million to open a 2.5 million-square-foot import distribution facility in Mobile County, AL. The facility will create 550 jobs and provide a major boost to the Port of Mobile. It will service about 800 Walmart stores with products primarily shipped through the Alabama port’s container terminal.
“As you know, there’s been a tremendous competition for the distribution center that Walmart is going to build here in Mobile,” said Glen Wilkins, public affairs director for Walmart, during a recent groundbreaking ceremony. “I think we did a great job choosing Mobile. I think that was a fantastic idea.”
The Walmart distribution center project is the first to qualify for a “port credit” incentive adopted in 2016 by the Legislature as part of the Alabama Renewal Act, according to Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. The port credit is designed to stimulate cargo traffic and job growth at facilities such as Port of Mobile. The 4,000-acre seaport is one of the nation’s busiest deep-water ports, handling more than 50 million tons of cargo annually. Walmart qualified for a port credit totaling $3 million.
“Walmart’s distribution and logistics center in Mobile County will enhance Alabama’s connection to the global economy and provide a major boost in cargo volume to the Port of Mobile,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “The Walmart hub will act as a powerful catalyst for job creation and significantly increase the operations of the world’s largest retailer in the state.”
The Alabama facility will be Walmart’s sixth U.S. import distribution center as the retailer expands its logistics network. It is expected to be fully operational in the second quarter of 2018, generate cargo volume of approximately 50,000 TEUs, and boost port traffic by 10 percent.
“Walmart’s decision to locate an import distribution center in Mobile County is a clear signal that Alabama is serious about creating jobs for its citizens and expanding the potential of the Port of Mobile,” said Governor Robert Bentley. “Walmart is making a substantial investment in Alabama, and we look forward to expanding our valuable partnership with the company through this project.”
The Alabama State Port Authority and APM Terminals joined the state and local economic development team that worked on “Project Beverly,” as it was codenamed during the recruitment.
“We are excited about how this facility will help us serve customers from Alabama to the Great Lakes and the economic impact it will have through local job creation and future economic development in the Mobile area,” said Jeff Breazeale, Walmart’s vice president of Direct Import Logistics. “We are grateful to the State of Alabama, Mobile County, the City of Mobile and the Alabama State Port Authority for the support we have received throughout this process, and we look forward to a strong relationship with the community for years to come.”
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