TiL, Ports America sign on to $1.8 billion Louisiana Port Expansion Project

New Orleans, United States - September 28, 2018:  Aerial view of the busy Port of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Ports America and MSC’s terminal arm Terminal Investment Limited (TiL) will invest $800 million into a $1.8 billion container facility on the Lower Mississippi River.

Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, announced the news on 13 December.

The deal is between the state of Louisiana, the Port of New Orleans and the two global maritime industry firms. 

According to Port NOLA’s estimations, the new Louisiana International Terminal (LIT) in St. Bernard Parish will be able to accommodate vessels of all sizes, greatly enhancing Louisiana’s import and export capacity. 

It is also expected to spark the development of more than 17,000 new jobs statewide by 2050.

Additionally, Port NOLA will commit significant funds to the project’s construction, coupled with the contributions from other sources of federal and state financing.

READ: Louisiana DOTD announces $3 million railway grant awardees

Speaking on the project, Gov. Edwards said: “This public-private partnership with the Port of New Orleans, TiL and Ports America has the potential to become one of the most impactful economic development projects in our state’s history.

“The powerful impact of this world-class logistics asset will benefit not only residents and businesses in south Louisiana, it will benefit advanced manufacturing, agribusiness and energy workers all across the state.” 

Port NOLA acquired 1,200 acres of property in Violet in 2020 after a protracted site selection process and several feasibility studies. 

This amount of land was adequate to house the terminal, value-added services, and warehousing facilities, as well as provide a natural buffer for the neighbourhood.

The project is currently in the design and permitting phase of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ environmental review process.

Barring unforeseen delays, construction is slated to begin in 2025 and the first berth to open in 2028.

Port NOLA President and CEO, Brandy D. Christian, said: “This investment, in addition to the billions of dollars the joint venture will contribute over the life of the lease, demonstrates their confidence in our gateway’s ability to serve vessels of all sizes, while creating jobs and opportunity for Louisiana.”

Using the deeper 50-foot Lower Mississippi River Ship Channel and circumventing height constraints from Mississippi River bridges farther up the river, LIT will be able to accommodate 2 million TEU yearly when fully constructed. 

Through Port NOLA’s multimodal connection, this new port will also improve Louisiana’s capacity to draw logistical facilities, value-added services, and distribution hubs.

“Ports America is looking forward to partnering with the Port of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana in the development of sustainable infrastructure that meets the long-term needs of the global container logistics industry on the Mississippi River,” said Matthew Leech, President and CEO of Ports America.

“LIT will attract new container trades, providing access for local industry to cost-competitive shipping options,” said TiL Terminal Investment Director for North America Tom Van Eynde.

The most recent design takes into account comments from the local community accumulated over the last two years concerning traffic, drainage, and other effects on adjacent houses and businesses.

“This project will only further the success of Louisiana agriculture exporters and the many products they have to offer the global market. We welcome this momentous new partnership and the economic impact it will have across Louisiana.” said Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, DVM.

Senate President, Page Cortez, said: “Investments such as these help enhance and attract public private partnerships that deliver economic vitality. The combined investments by the state legislature and federal delegation create a strong foundation that will provide opportunities for generations.”

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