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Port NOLA Seeks Second Container Terminal Site

Sinclair Tract

The Port of New Orleans is looking to expand its container operations with investments at current facilities and potentially developing a new terminal at an undeveloped site within its jurisdiction in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.

In a move that could double Port NOLA’s container capacity, the Port has engaged international firm AECOM Technical Services LLC to begin a feasibility study of a 675-acre site in Meraux, Louisiana, to assess its suitability for maritime and logistics purposes. The study is part of an initial 12-month due diligence process that will encompass both the Port’s and the community’s needs. Port NOLA also entered into an exclusive agreement with the Meraux Foundation, owners of the property.

The Louisiana Economic Development-certified site known as the Sinclair Tract is approximately 5.1 miles downriver from Port NOLA’s current container operations at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal. The Port has seen container volumes grow consistently and in 2017 surpassed half a million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) for the third straight year. Port officials see the possible expansion to a second container terminal as a strategic move.

“The Port of New Orleans will continue to invest in its existing cargo facilities to satisfy present and forecasted demand,” explained Brandy D. Christian, President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans. “However, we want to be able to continue as a vital gateway in the global supply chain for generations to come. Therefore, we are strategically evaluating sites for potential future development to ensure we are infrastructure ready in the long-term.”

The feasibility study will look not just at container operations, but possible adjacent land for value-added services, distribution and fabrication businesses reliant on access to a deep-water port.

“Building an additional state-of-the-art container terminal with adjacent land to attract new logistics-related businesses — such as transloading, warehousing, distribution, and light manufacturing — will allow Louisiana and the port complexes on the Lower Mississippi River unprecedented opportunity to grow cargo volumes, capture new market segments, and increase economic impacts statewide,” said Christian.

If the site were to be developed, it is anticipated that it would feature three berths that could accommodate all three ocean alliance carriers, as well as provide the needed space for cargo-related logistics. The current Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal has the footprint for 1.5 million TEUs and the goal is for the downriver Sinclair site to have a similar capacity.

The Port’s three-parish jurisdiction includes Orleans Parish, where the current container terminal is located, as well as Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes. The possible expansion of cargo operations into St. Bernard would be a first for Port NOLA, which is also working with Jefferson Parish government to ensure the entire three-parish jurisdiction benefits economically from Port activity.