The Alabama State Port Authority and its partner, APM Terminals, recently announced a new shipping service to and from Asia for Alabama’s containerized cargo shippers. Maersk and MSC jointly announced new service beginning May 2, serving major seaports in China and Korea.

Maersk and MSC will provide direct weekly all-water service from the Port of Mobile to the ports of Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Xiamen and Yantian in China and the port of Busan in Korea. 

To date, the Alabama State Port Authority has spent more than $200 million in container intermodal investments at its Choctaw Point Complex, including the new $50 million Intermodal Container Transfer Facility scheduled to open in May. The Port Authority’s partner, APM Terminals, has also invested $150 million in the container terminal and recently announced an additional $47.5 million container terminal expansion to be completed by year-end 2017. 

Mobile’s port will service the newly upgraded Panama Canal, scheduled to reopen this summer. “Our investments, coupled with a year-round 45-foot draft channel and a new Panama Canal, positions the Port of Mobile to capitalize on new service offerings between Asia and the U.S. Gulf,” said Port Authority Director Jimmy Lyons.

Marine cargo activity through the Port Authority’s terminals directly and indirectly employ more than 124,000 statewide. Recent studies indicate it contributes $19.4 billion in economic value to the state.

Commercial real estate moves
The law firm of Rockwell and Kaufman purchased and will occupy the professional office building located at 7 Dauphin St. in downtown Mobile. The property was built in 1875 and is adjacent to the historic “Three Sisters” building at the corner of Dauphin and Royal streets. The property sold for $580,000. Allan Cameron of NAI Mobile handled the transaction.  

Birmingham-based Hibbet Sporting Goods has leased a 4,686-square-foot retail space at Forum Shops in Semmes, with an anticipated opening date of April 23. The retail plaza, anchored by Rent-A-Center and a Wal-Mart Supercenter, is located at 3385 Schillinger Road in Mobile County. Jill Meeks with Stirling Properties handled the transaction for the property owner.

Alabama Barber Academy LLC, a new school for barbering, recently held its grand opening. The facility is located at 1564 Duval St. in Mobile. Visits and applications for enrollment are available Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Our goal is to attract and equip students for the barbering profession and business opportunities. The hair care providers have long been a respected, independent earner in our community,” Maxie Davis, CEO of Alabama Barber Academy, said.
Rural Sourcing hosting second annual IT hackathon
Rural Sourcing Inc. (RSI), a provider of U.S.-based IT outsourcing services, recently announced its second annual hackathon in Mobile. The event is scheduled Friday, April 8, at the Alabama Contemporary Art Center from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. and will involve university students collaborating on specific software and coding solution projects for local organizations. Each group will be given four hours to create a project revealed only at the start of the competition.

“Every year we look forward to this event because it gives us an opportunity to see these highly skilled students in action and it allows them to meet and work with like-minded participants,” Margaux Kaynard, RSI vice president of human resources, said.

The panel of judges includes Tommy McNeal, CIO of Hargrove Engineers + Constructors; Dean Parker, founder and CEO of Vita Capital; Rich Sullivan, CEO of Red Square Agency; and Derek Perry, vice president, services delivery at RSI.

RSI was recently ranked 22nd by Computerworld in its “100 Best Places to Work in IT” listing for 2015. For more information or to register for the event, visit the RSI Mobile Hackathon page.

Deep Fried Studios presenting inaugural “SouthSounds Podcast Live”
In partnership with the SouthSounds 2016 festival, Deep Fried Studios will host its inaugural “SouthSounds Podcast Live” on Saturday, April 9, 2-6 p.m.. Podcasters will gather to perform live versions of their local and regional shows to expose festivalgoers to the medium.

“SouthSounds Music & Art Festival founders wanted to add a new entertainment and technology element to this year’s festival. With the help of Deep Fried Studios, we are bringing together a wide range of talent and experience working in local audio, digital media and broadcasting. ‘Podcast Live’ will be a performance of dynamic, live radio-like shows,” Stacy Wellborn, manager and co-owner of Deep Fried Studios, said.

“Podcast Live” participants will work in front of a live audience with live renditions of Internet broadcasts that normally are produced in private studio sessions. Guests include local radio host Uncle Henry Pennington and Twitter Periscope personality Sock Cop (Mobile-based Jason Cooper).

Established in 2015, Deep Fried Studios, led by the husband and wife team of Johnny Gwin and Stacy Wellborn, produce podcasts and offer advertising services for local businesses. Current shows on rotation by the company include “Fan of Podcast,” “Crusader of Cool” and “Pulpit to Pew.”

Founded in 2011, SouthSounds is a festival focused on showcasing musicians and artists in the region. The event is held annually on the second weekend in April in venues and free public stages throughout downtown Mobile. It operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is sponsored by the Mobile Arts Council with additional support from the Downtown Mobile Alliance. For more information about the event visit