WickedHyper, Inc., an innovative supply chain technology startup currently based in Alexandria, LA, recently signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Louisiana 23 Development Company, the lead developer behind the new deepwater multimodal container terminal and intermodal rail facility on the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish. The MOU creates the framework for assessing the potential value of WickedHyper’s technology and formalizes the working relationship between the two firms. Both companies were founded to assist the Plaquemines Port, Harbor and Terminal District (PPHTD), and its executive director Sandy Sanders, with the efficient, clean, and profitable design of a major 21st-century container port.
LA23DevCo CEO Christopher Fetters recognized from the beginning that innovative approaches regarding every aspect of the new port complex would be necessary to carry out PPHTD’s goals of becoming the primary container transportation node servicing the vast middle of the country. He and Mr. Sanders have successfully worked to help PPHTD assemble a world-class team of primary partners that include APM Terminals, American Patriot Holdings, port architects, investors and beneficial cargo owners. The MOU with WickedHyper, as well as agreements with other specialty companies, represents the next layer of developing alternate infrastructure pathways needed to optimize the port and its commercial operations.
WickedHyper was conceived by Steve Peaslee in response to a challenge issued to him by Sanders in late 2018: “Find a better way to move containers over this 40-mile stretch of land” between the planned port location and a major rail yard west of New Orleans. At the time, Peaslee was a consultant for an infrastructure firm, but the challenge so consumed him that he eventually left to form his own company, focused on that same goal. As a result, WickedHyper came to comprise a multi-component container-handling and transport system unlike anything in the world, and an answer to the bottlenecks plaguing container terminals everywhere. Rather than stacks of containers clogging up the waterfront, WickedHyper seamlessly transports the cargo boxes to and from the more spacious inland yard, effectively extending the port. The system’s innovative rail replaces the need for massive fleets of diesel trucks and their associated carbon footprint and traffic congestion in and around the waterfront. While transloading as many as ten 40-foot containers per minute, containers do not even touch port ground, greatly reducing the need for expansive and expensive real estate along the waterfront. The entirety of the WickedHyper system is powered by electricity or green hydrogen fuel cell motors, adding environmental stewardship to a list of positive attributes that also includes speed, volume, efficiency, and small physical footprint.
“The MOU establishes a contingent game plan for assessing how WickedHyper’s innovative approach might benefit this project,” said LA23DevCo’s Fetters. “The assessment tools would essentially be feasibility studies addressing different phases and aspects of the innovation’s potential impact on the port’s bottom line. Once we get to that stage, I’ll be looking forward to seeing the fruit of Steve’s labor.”
“Like any startup, WickedHyper is constantly evolving,” Peaslee explained, “but the changes now are much more subtle than they were a year, or even six months, ago. Also, we’ve gone from answering a challenge for a single port project to providing a solution for clogged container ports around the globe. The concept for WickedHyper came along before there were countless photos of container ships anchored offshore, so we generated a good head-start on the much bigger problem. We are excited to enter into this MOU with Chris, confident that we are bringing a game-changing technological innovation to the table.”