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MOBILE, AL: April 18, 2018. The Port of Mobile is to open a new vehicle processing RoRo terminal at a cost of US$60 million by the end of 2019.

The Alabama State Port Authority (ASPA) and AutoMobile International Terminal, a joint venture of Terminal Zárate and SAAM Puertos, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to convert 57 acres of a derelict bulk handling facility at the port into an automotive processing and logistics terminal.

With a depth of 40 feet, the facility will be served by five Class I railroads linking all of North America, nearly 15,000 miles of inland waterways and two Interstates: 65 and 10. Mobile is currently ranked the 10th largest U.S. seaport by volume.

Airbus Mobile AL(Pictured: Last September the 50th shipset of Airbus A320 components arrived at the Port of Mobile from Hamburg for delivery to the nearby Airbus U.S. manufacturing facility.)

“This agreement represents a key step in diversifying the Port Authority’s business while providing a strategic asset to regional automotive shippers,” commented James Lyons, ASPA director and CEO.

After requesting proposals in 2016, the ASPA selected Buenos Aires-based Terminal Zárate that specializes in port services for cars, containers and project cargo handling. With 540 acres north of the city on the country’s Paraná River, last year it handled 625,000 vehicles on behalf of manufacturers and RoRo shipowners.

SAAM Puertos is a subsidiary of Sociedad Matriz SAAM, a Chilean multinational company listed on the Santiago Stock Exchange, that provides port terminal operations, towage and logistics in 11 ports in 13 countries in the Americas including Mexico, the U.S., Colombia, Ecuador and Costa Rica.

“This project is a significant component of our growth strategy and given our strong experience as a RoRo terminal we are convinced we will develop AutoMobile International Terminal into a world class processing and handling facility,” said Terminal Zárate president Robert Murchison.

Yurik Díaz, manager of SAAM Puertos added: “We look forward to work together with Terminal Zárate and the Alabama State Port Authority and bring all our knowledge and experience to the service of the terminal, and consolidate our position in America.”

ASPA said funding for the project would come from federal grants totaling US$41.5 million and from the terminal concession-holders.

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