At the mouth of the Mississippi River, the Plaquemines Port, Harbor and Terminal District’s Plaquemines Port continues to attract energy-related ventures, including a pair of planned liquefied natural gas export facilities, as well as oil export, container yard, manufacturing, distribution and refining interests.
The larger of the two LNG installations that are targeted to begin operations in 2020, pending Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval, is being advanced by Washington-based Venture Global LNG on 632 leased acres on the river’s west bank near Myrtle Grove. The facility, being built in phases, is designed to ultimately produce 20 million metric tons annually, while employing 300 people in converting natural gas from local sources to liquefied products, helping to satisfy a growing worldwide demand.
Meanwhile, Houston-based Louisiana LNG Energy LLC is building a facility capable of exporting 6 million tons a year from 190 acres on the east bank near Pointe à la Hache.
St. Bernard Port
Occupying a 10-mile stretch of the Lower Mississippi River just downriver from New Orleans, facilities of the Chalmette, La.-based St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District have over the past two years seen growth in handling of breakbulk cargos eclipse moves of lower-value bulk goods, thus generating more jobs and greater dockage fees. With its Violet Terminal acquisition, St. Bernard Parish port has recently added two more berths, bringing to six the number of moorings where transloading operations can take place simultaneously in waters at least 45 feet deep.
The port’s marine terminal operator, Associated Terminals of St. Bernard, relies upon its barge fleet and barge-mounted Gottwald floating cranes to proficiently transfer cargo between ships and barges at midstream moorings, while dockside berths facilitate direct discharge to trucks, rail and warehouses.
Port of New Orleans
Nearly $40 million in new investments to increase efficiencies and expand container-handling capabilities have been made in the last year at the Port of New Orleans’ Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal. These include a $7.9 million refrigerated container racking system, jointly financed by New Orleans Terminal LLC and the port. The system has the ability to store more than 600 refrigerated containers at one time. New Orleans Terminal also added two new rubber-tire gantry cranes, at more than $4.5 million, and Ports America invested $2.2 million in gate technology that is improving turn times for truck drivers.
These projects are complimented by the $25 million Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal that began operations in March. The 12-acre terminal facilitates movement of marine and rail cargo, while enhancing safety and reducing carbon footprint.
But perhaps the biggest news at the port is the plan of Gary Lagrange to retire in April 2017 after more than 15 years as president and chief executive officer. He is to be succeeded by Brandy Christian, currently the port’s chief operating officer.
On the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, adjacent to Interstate 55 and the Canadian National Railway Co. mainline, the South Tangipahoa Parish Port Commission’s Port Manchac has recently completed the first phase of projects designed to redevelop the site into a safe, efficient transloading terminal for bulk, breakbulk, neobulk and containerized cargo operations.
The $3 million infrastructure program, largely funded by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, includes installation of a higher level of storm surge protection and a new internal roadway system serving barge docking and transloading locations at the 140-acre terminal.
Current undertakings also include additional dredging work, dock fender system upgrades and hard-surfaced laydown storage areas, with a focus on accommodating future containerized cargo shipments by barge, rail and truck.
Port of South Louisiana
Behind a security patrol and fire boat, transloading activity takes place at the Port of South Louisiana,
the Western Hemisphere’s No. 1 tonnage portAlready the Western Hemisphere’s No. 1 tonnage port, thanks largely to Midwest grain and other bulk shipments, the Port of South Louisiana is now looking to become a serious player in the containerized cargo realm as well.
Encouraged by recent studies, port officials see bulk activity continuing to rise while the port begins to develop a hub for taking containers from ships and placing them on barges for transport to any of the 33 states served via inland waterways. Future plans include development of a standalone containerport, likely under a public-private partnership, just downriver from the existing Globalplex Intermodal Terminal.
The Port of South Louisiana, the jurisdiction of which covers a 54-mile stretch along both sides of the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, is currently advancing $45 million of infrastructure projects, highlighted by a $12.2 million warehouse expansion, $12.1 million for two new mobile cranes, a $8.7 million rail yard for forming unit trains and $8.4 million of general cargo dock strengthening.