The first quarter of 2017 has been a busy one for the Port of South Louisiana. Total throughput increased by 21% in the first quarter of 2017 as compared to that of 2016, with over 84 million short tons of cargo moved via 1,279 vessels and 20,697 barges. This amount of cargo movement makes it even more imperative that we secure funding for the Mississippi River Shipping Channel Dredging Project. We need cargo to keep moving swiftly and expeditiously. I am proud to say that for our part in those efforts, the Port of South Louisiana was recognized by the Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum in Montreal, Canada, as the recipient of the infrastructure “Job Creation of the Year Award.” Dredging (or the lack thereof) not only affects commerce but also the preservation and creation of good-paying jobs across the nation. Until the Mississippi River is properly deepened and maintained, I will continue to do my part in raising awareness for this national problem and will speak about it to whomever will listen. As a matter of fact, in mid-May, I took the opportunity to speak about dredging at the AAPA Commissioners Seminar in Indianapolis, Indiana. I want to extend my appreciation to our Louisiana delegation in Washington, D.C., particularly to 2017’s “AAPA Port Person of the Year,” Congressman Steve Scalise, for their continued support on this matter.
Recap of other events during the last quarter:
The Port of South Louisiana is happy to host groups or delegations that request a visit. In April, we hosted a delegation from Brazil that was in New Orleans attending the Gulf Coast Trade Alliance: Doing Business in Brazil conference. We shared information regarding terminal operations, dredging, marine operations and security, and economic development. A few weeks later, we showcased the Port of South Louisiana to a group from the World Trade Center of New Orleans, which included board members and several consul generals. During their visit, the group was given a bus tour of Globalplex Intermodal Terminal and a boat tour of a portion of the Port’s jurisdiction.
On May 6, the Port of South Louisiana and the Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport had the pleasure of hosting the first St. John the Baptist Parish Aviation Awareness Day. The event, organized and sponsored by Paul Green and Guys Achieving Goals, was planned with the goal of introducing the youth of the region to flying and the field of aviation, which offers a spectrum of academic disciplines and career paths, such as engineering and mathematics. Open to the general public, those interested were treated to airplane rides while others perused the display of specialty vehicles. Not only did the event have a good turn-out, but it provided itself as a great opportunity to educate the community about the existence of the Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport.
During the second week in May, the Port of South Louisiana joined forces with St. John the Baptist Parish to promote National Economic Development Week, an event created and coordinated by the International Economic Development Council to increase awareness for local programs that create jobs, advance career development opportunities, spur economic growth, and increase the quality of life. The Port hosted a breakfast at Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport, during which officials took the opportunity to tout the region’s economic development activity and promote the economic impact of resident industry on the community.
On May 23, the Port of South Louisiana held a ribbon cutting ceremony that marked the official opening of the expansion to warehouse #19 at Globalplex Intermodal Terminal. The 77,520 square-foot annex was designed to improve functionality and increase storage of the original 35,000 square-foot warehouse. BARTON International, a tenant of Globalplex since 2006, will use the larger structure for its garnet abrasive operation.
In closing, I would like to thank Iowa Public Television’s “Market to Market” for reaching out and including the Port of South Louisiana in their report about coastal restoration efforts in Southeast Louisiana. As presented in the report, dredging to deepen and maintain the Mississippi is actually symbiotic to coastal restoration: dredging allows for commerce to remain stable, reliable, and competitive while the material removed from the bottom of the channel can replenish the marshes and wetlands of coastal Louisiana. It’s a win-win for our state and the nation.