Mobile, Alabama –Trucks carrying five sections of the first Airbus A320 passenger jetliner to be assembled at the new $600 million Brookley Aeroplex left the APM Terminals Mobile terminal in a colorful convoy Sunday for the three-mile final leg of their journey as the first airline component delivery for final assembly in Alabama. The short- to medium-range, twin-engine passenger A320 airliners will be the first to be assembled in the United States by the Toulouse, France-based commercial aviation giant. Airbus projects output at the Brookley facility at between 40-50 aircraft per year within three years. The fuselage and wing components arrived at APM Terminals Mobile on June 17th aboard the chartered German-flagged BBC Fuji, which transported the Spanish, German and British-manufactured sections from the Port of Hamburg, Germany.
“We are very proud of the role that APM Terminals Mobile will be playing in this major new aerospace industry expansion in Alabama and the Port of Mobile” said APM Terminals Chief Operating Officer Jeff De Best, who had travelled from APM Terminals’ headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, joining over 100 local dignitaries and government representatives for the celebration.
Airbus has sold more than 11,500 passenger aircraft to more than 470 customers and airline operators around the world, including over 9,400 of this single-aisle model family, with another 3,900 orders awaiting delivery from the four Airbus A320 assembly centers in Germany, China, France, and now the USA.
APM Terminals has been expanding and upgrading the Mobile terminal, which opened in 2008, and will add two new super-Post Panamax STS cranes – along with a yard expansion as part of a $40 million infrastructure investment to expand the terminal’s capacity in response to growing demand and opportunity in the US Southeast served by Alabama’s primary port. APM Terminals Mobile has a current annual throughput capacity of 350,000 TEUs with two cranes currently in service. Regular shipments of the Airbus A320 components through APM Terminals Mobile are set to begin within the next few weeks.
The Alabama State Port Authority has begun construction of an Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) in the Port of Mobile which will be located adjacent to the APM Terminals facility. The ICTF will connect Mobile, via national intermodal rail service, to major markets in the US Southeast and Midwest, including direct access to Atlanta, Memphis, Nashville, and Chicago. The ICTF is scheduled to be operational by early 2016.
Other local growing industries include automobile manufacturing, with over one and a half million cars produced annually within four hours of the port, as well as steel and exports of poultry and forest products. Annual throughput at APM Terminals Mobile will grow to 400,000 TEUs within the next five years based upon current projections.