DIRECTOR’S LOG

The River Parishes’ resident industries are the life and blood of the regional economy and the Port of South Louisiana. In 2018, these companies moved over 303.1 million short tons of cargo, in spite of cargo movement stumbling blocks (e.g., high water on the Mississippi River during the spring). For that reason, our mission is to support our tenants, improve infrastructure, expand maritime industry services, encourage tonnage growth and create job opportunities within the district. Moving forward, the Port has more than $59 million of improvements and enhancements of port infrastructure that are crucial in remaining competitive in the global market.

Four capital improvements projects are slated for the Port of South Louisiana’s Globalplex Intermodal Terminal:
Almost 20 years ago, the general cargo dock was expanded to its current 660’ x 204’ configuration and outfitted with two Manitowoc 2250 rail-mounted cranes. The cargo needs of the dock facility have changed, and the need to operate efficiently and decrease cost have become a priority. Consequently, the requests for bids will go out around mid-2019 for (1) the acquisition of two new self-contained, self-propelled, diesel, rail-mounted, multi-purpose, single-jib cranes and (2) the fortification and retrofit of the dock to accommodate the new cranes and increased cargo capacity. We anticipate this $18.7 million project, funded by LA DOTD’s Port Priority program, to take two years to complete.

We are in the process of rehabilitating a rail siding at the request of our tenant, Evonik, in the amount of $300,000, funded by the Port of South Louisiana. Simultaneously, Canadian National Railroad is installing a rail switch along its track on the north side of the warehouse. Both should be fully functional by summer 2019.

A 54,000 square-foot warehouse on Holcim-leased property will undergo structural and cosmetic renovations, including repairs to metal beams, a new roof and siding. Construction is scheduled for spring 2019 and slated to be complete by mid-2020. Seventy percent of the project’s $4.1 million cost will be funded by Louisiana’s Capital Outlay program and the remainder covered by Lafarge/Holcim and the Port of South Louisiana.

Another 141,000 square-foot warehouse will undergo structural repairs as well, which are expected to be complete by the end of 2019. Approximately 65% of the $1.36 million cost will be funded by Louisiana’s Capital Outlay program, with the remainder financed by the Port of South Louisiana.

The Port of South Louisiana will also be constructing a five-track rail yard for Dow Chemical that can accommodate 200 rail cars. This $8.7 million project, funded by Louisiana’s Capital Outlay program, will be located at SoLaPort, a port-owned property that sits adjacent to Dow Chemical in St. Charles Parish and will be accessible to Dow via an existing rail spur on the south side of the facility. We are expecting the bidding process to begin in the spring 2019 and construction to be complete in 2020. Upriver in St. John the Baptist Parish, the barge unloader system at ADM-Reserve is scheduled for an overhaul in late 2019/early 2020 and is expected to increase the facility’s grain processing efficiency and speed. Approximately 20% of the $25.5 million improvements will be funded by Louisiana Department of Transportation’s Port Priority program, with the remainder financed by Archer Daniels Midland. The upgraded system is planned to come on-line in mid-2021.

Ten years ago, the Port of South Louisiana acquired what is now the Executive Regional Airport (KAPS) in St. John the Baptist Parish. In the past decade, we have expanded the runway and taxiway, installed an AWOS system and added a transient hangar, among other things. This year, in response to the high demand for hangar space, construction of a $1.15 million 10-unit T-hangar is scheduled to begin in late 2019. Fifty percent of its cost will be financed by LA DOTD’s Aviation Airport Construction and Development Priority Program and matched by the Port of South Louisiana.

We are thankful for our continued success, an accomplishment to be credited to our first-rate industries whose cargo activity in 2018 registered as the second-best year for the Port of South Louisiana. We look forward to surpassing that figure in 2019 and remain committed to assisting our resident industries, the life and blood of the River Region.