Responding to rising demand, ports of Louisiana are expanding facilities while looking to benefit in several instances from deeper channels.
Ports along the Mississippi River expect to gain from the ambitious undertaking to deepen 256 miles of the river ship channel to 50 feet, from the present 45 feet, as far as New Orleans by early 2022 and to Baton Rouge by 2024. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers kicked off the $250 million project in September.
Not that 2020 was all good news. A half a dozen hurricanes struck Louisiana from June through October, including highly destructive Hurricane Laura in August and Hurricane Delta in October, adding to woes created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Generally looking from east to west, here’s the dish on ports of the Pelican State:
St. Bernard Port
The St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District, while expanding facilities, most notably is providing a potential home for future containerized cargo operations of the Port of New Orleans, which has seen its container volumes double over the past decade. Port NOLA in December agreed to acquire nearly 1,100 acres of St. Bernard Port property, inclusive of its Violet Terminal, and is launching a two-year study looking at phased development of $1.5 billion of facilities to augment capabilities of Port NOLA’s Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal, situated 16 miles up the Mississippi River. St. Bernard officials see an opportunity to secure additional land and develop existing properties for complementary purposes.
Meanwhile, St. Bernard Port’s two-year, $32.2 million expansion and upgrade of its venerable Chalmette Slip enters its final phase. A federal grant and state funding are each paying 40 percent of the project’s cost, with 20 percent coming from the port and terminal operator Associated Terminals.
Also at Chalmette Slip, a new 80,000-square-foot, food-grade transit shed is being built to hold finished product of ASR Group, formerly American Sugar Refining Co.
Port of New Orleans
While looking at expanding to St. Bernard Parish, the Port of New Orleans, marketed as Port NOLA, is investing more than $100 million in its present Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal, including securing four new ship-to-shore cranes for June delivery, to bring its gantry contingent to nine. The endeavor is expected to nearly double the terminal’s annual throughput capacity, to 1.5 million 20-foot-equivalent units. By a year from now, the Napoleon Avenue facility is anticipated to have a 50-foot-deep channel, compared with today’s 47 feet, thanks to advancement of…
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