The St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District processed 1.6 million short tons of cargo from January to June 2005, an 11% increase in productivity from the same period in 2004.

“This is in line with the steady increase in productivity the St. Bernard Port has seen in the past six years,” said Robert Scafidel, executive director of the St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District. “Since 1999, the St. Bernard Port has enjoyed more than a 700% increase in tonnage. In 2004 alone, our productivity rose by 30%.”

The St. Bernard Port’s Chalmette Slip, the only deep-draft, calm water slip on the Mississippi River, allows the Port to accommodate larger ships than many domestic ports.

In addition, St. Bernard Port officials have continued to increase its tonnage capacity with the completion of several expansion projects in the past year.

Currently, a dockside dry - bulk warehouse with a 40,000-ton capacity is under construction at its Arabi Terminal. A new truck scale, roadway and access control security guard station also is substantially complete.

In 2004, a 40,000-square-foot cargo transit shed was completed at the Port’s Arabi terminal. Surrounded by four acres of hard surface cargo storage area, the site also is accessible by rail.

Also in 2004, the construction of midstream mooring buoys in Meraux, at mile marker 86.5, was completed in a joint venture by the Port and Associated Terminals, which operates the Port’s maritime facilities.

Barge fleeting also was added at the Meraux site and increased in Chalmette at mile marker 89.5 to accommodate larger ships with greater tonnage, according to David “Jeff” McClain, director of operations for the St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District.

“The expansion of our facilities results in our ability to attract larger vessels,” McClain said. “In turn, our rail and truck traffic is affected in a positive way, creating jobs and benefiting our community.”

Scafidel said the St. Bernard Port’s continued success has benefited the St. Bernard Parish economy in several ways.

“The St. Bernard Port’s increased productivity has a profound economic impact on St. Bernard Parish, creating jobs for residents and a climate for growth,” said Robert Scafidel, executive director of the St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District. “Since 2004, I estimate 200 jobs have been created to accommodate the growth in the Port’s industrial parks and maritime operations.”