Wal-Mart to invest $135M in Alabama import distribution center

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Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to invest at least $135 million to open a massive import distribution facility in Mobile County, creating 550 jobs and providing a major boost to the Port of Mobile.

Wal-Mart’s new 2.5 million-square-foot facility will service about 800 stores with products primarily shipped through the Alabama port’s container terminal. The company’s plans were announced today at a groundbreaking ceremony at APM Terminals.

“As you know, there’s been a tremendous competition for the distribution center that Wal-Mart is going to build here in Mobile,” Glen Wilkins, public affairs director for the retailer, said at the ceremony.

He added, “I think we did a great job choosing Mobile. I think that was a fantastic idea.”

‘Powerful catalyst’

The Alabama facility will be Walmart’s sixth import distribution center in the nation as the retailer expands its logistics network.

The Port of Mobile is one of the nation’s busiest deep-water ports. (Contributed)

“Wal-Mart’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,” Gov. Robert Bentley said.

“Wal-Mart is making a substantial investment in Alabama, and we look forward to expanding our valuable partnership with the company through this project,” he added.

The Wal-Mart distribution center will become an important player in the Port of Mobile’s container business. The facility is expected to generate cargo volume of approximately 50,000 TEUs, or twenty-foot equivalents, a standard unit of measure in container transportation.

“Wal-Mart’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, who spoke at today’s ceremony.

“The Wal-Mart hub will act as a powerful catalyst for job creation and significantly increase the operations of the world’s largest retailer in the state.”

Port credit

Canfield added that the Wal-Mart 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.

Denson White of APM Terminals checks on the unloading and loading of containers. APM will be the site of a $135 million Wal-Mart import distribution center, officials announced today. (Mike Kittrell/Alabama NewsCenter)

The port credit is meant to stimulate cargo traffic and job growth at facilities such as the 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. Wal-Mart qualified for a port credit totaling $3 million.

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart already has more than 38,000 workers in Alabama. The 550 full-time jobs being created at the import distribution center in Mobile will have an average annual wage of $35,000, plus benefits. Some salaried workers will earn more than $50,000, Wal-Mart said.

The Alabama State Port Authority and APM Terminals joined the state and local economic development team that worked on “Project Beverly,” as it was code-named 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, Wal-Mart’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.”

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

Republished with permission of Alabama NewsCenter.

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