The Decatur-Morgan County Port Authority was incorporated in April 1982. Its purpose was to develop property along the Tennessee River for industrial use. The Port Authority was given the power to buy, equip, and fund industrial developments within its jurisdiction, which initially was a three-mile radius of the river, but was expanded in 2007 by the Alabama Legislature to include the entire county. The law that was passed allows port facilities to develop properties within the entire county in which they are located, beyond the three-mile limit.
During fiscal year 1986-87 Governor Guy Hunt signed the deeds that transferred the Alabama State Docks in Decatur to the Port Authority. The State Docks site consisted of the docks and approximately 90 acres of industrial property. The development of phases one and two was completed in 1996. In October 2002, the port facility began operating under Global Materials Services, which was later acquired by Kinder Morgan in 2004.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Port Authority was heavily involved in developing the 1,000+ acre Mallard-Fox Creek Industrial Park and Port. The first industry, Hispan, announced they would locate in the park in July 1988. Construction of phase one of the port facility began in November 1990. The dock facility has 320 feet of river frontage and is large enough to allow two barges to offload at one time. In August 1992, the bid to lease the port facility was awarded to Hill’s Marine Enterprises, Inc. who operated the port until 2000. In April 2000 the operation of the port facility was transferred to Global Materials Services LLC (GMS). Kinder Morgan acquired Global Materials in 2004 and operated the port until 2016. In 2016, Watco Transloading-Decatur River Port began operating both the Mallard-Fox Creek and State Docks port facilities.
Port Authority Board of Directors
The Decatur-Morgan County Port Authority is controlled by a five-member Board of Directors. They are appointed by the City of Decatur and the Morgan County Commission and serve 5-year terms. Directors are eligible for re-appointment by the governing body by which they are initially appointed.
- Jimmy Ray Smith, President
- Tim Lovelace, Secretary/ Treasurer
- Ferrell Vest, Vice President
- Grant McKelvey
- Sheila Davis