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Economic boosts possible for Terrebonne and LaFourche ports
A fact-finding mission to Panama by representatives of the Terrebonne Parish Economic Development Authority (TEDA) and the Port of Terrebonne has resulted in potentially positive news for the region’s economy.TEDA Chief Executive Officer Steve Vassallo said the goal of the trip – conducted March 16-18 – was to determine how Terrebonne Parish and surrounding regions might benefit from the increased shipping that will result from the widening of the Panama Canal.
“In the process, we identified a huge opportunity in the exportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG),” Vassallo said. “U.S. shale gas exportation to Latin America has led to the conversion of several Gulf coast ports into LNG export points. We determined to investigate how the Port of Terrebonne and Port Fourchon might be able to capitalize on the opportunity.”
Vassallo said current trends for regional economic gains depend more on exports than imports.
“In 2012, U.S. exports reached a record volume of $2.2 trillion, and in the past 35 months, exports have created more than six million private sector jobs,” he said. “The potential for export-generated economic growth in our region is therefore immense, and we are pursuing every opportunity we can.”
David Rabalais, executive director of the Port of Terrebonne, accompanied the TEDA delegation to Panama and will be in charge of investigating LNG exportation and other port-related opportunities.
“The first step is to identify potential investors to promote opportunities in Panama, especially LNG,” he said. “Subsequent steps include expanding our deep-water operations and cargo trade.”
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