The Port of South Louisiana handled over 69 million short tons of cargo in the second quarter of 2017, a 2 percent increase compared to the same period last year. The increase in cargo handling in the second quarter continues the trend of growth we’ve seen during the last couple of years: cargo throughput increased by 12 percent, or over 16 million short tons, during the first half of 2017 compared to the same time frame last year. Over 153 million short tons of cargo passed through the Port of South Louisiana’s docks moved via 2,398 vessels and 34,318 barges since the beginning of the year, comprised of mostly grain (51 million short tons), crude (42 million short tons), and petrochemicals (29 million short tons).
As announced industrial projects begin to come online, we can expect further increase in tonnage. In mid-August, the Port of South Louisiana participated in the ribbon cutting that marked the official opening of Pin Oak Terminals. The terminal, which broke ground in October of 2015, now has the capacity to handle and store over 400,000 barrels of refined products and biofuels with plans to expand to 10 million barrels of storage and the construction of a unit-train rail loop. Pin Oak Terminals is a welcome addition to the Port of South Louisiana industry family. Not only will its establishment increase tonnage handling capacity but it will result in additional jobs for the citizens of the River Region.
In another important way to support our community, the Port of South Louisiana entered into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with Nicholls State University in May of 2016 and continues today to promote the institution’s successful Coastal Restoration Program. As part of the agreement, the Port of South Louisiana committed to provide financial assistance to the university’s biology department. These funds will be used to aid in their efforts and for the maintenance of the Nicholls farm, a research and education lab that encourages the research, education, and implementation of coastal restoration methodology. We are delighted to be able to contribute to such a necessary cause.
In late July, the American Association of Port Authorities announced the recipients of the 2017 AAPA Communications Awards Program. The Port’s quarterly PortLog journal, which you are currently reading, received an Award of Distinction in the periodicals category. This is the second consecutive year the PortLog has received an award (last year, it received an Award of Merit). I want to congratulate the Port of South Louisiana’s business development division for this achievement in their collaborative effort with Renaissance Publishing in producing our successful quarterly magazine.
Lastly, in late June, the Port of South Louisiana acquired the property known as Crescent/Homeplace located in St. James Parish. The purchase of the +/- 1,680-acre site on the west bank of the Mississippi River fits into the goals and mission of the Port of South Louisiana. We look forward to developing the property and creating more jobs for the community.