Port of South La. expanding, working with Dow St. Charles on railroad

The Port of South Louisiana has committed $9.5 million to build a railroad for Dow St. Charles capable of handling 250 rail cars.

Port Executive Director Paul Aucoin announced the rail project as part of his annual report to the Parish Council at Monday’s meeting. The port is providing the property, and railroad for the project that is just east of Dow, which Dow will lease from the port.

Aucoin said the project is in the engineering phase and they were meeting with Dow engineers to work out drainage issues.Overall, the port continues to grow in its three parish of St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. James. Aucoin also praised his 9-member commission, which includes three St. Ch

“We have a lot of room for growth, which means again – jobs,” he said.

The port, which represents 54 miles of the Mississippi River, includes 33 crude oil pipelines and 159 natural pipelines. Aucoin said this is important as new pipelines are coming to the facility and also will support growth.

The facility also includes four oil major refineries, including Shell in Norco and Valero St. Charles, as well as seven grain elevators, including ADM locations in Destrehan and Ama and Bunge North American.

Aucoin said pipelines are playing a larger role at the port with the approaching Dakota access pipeline, as well as the Bayou Bridge pipeline project.

The port’s Globalplex Intermodal Terminal is a 177,000 square-foot facility handling bulk cargo. Aucoin saida 130-acre certified site is still available.

Aucoin also noted the port’s top rankings, including ranking No. 1 in the Western Hemisphere for largest tonnage. As of 2016, the port handled 294 million short tons among 4,578 vessels and 59,780 barges. The port handled more than $57 billion in exports and more than $26 billion in imports.

He also noted the part is the top grain exporter in the U.S., shipping grain to more than 90 countries.

The port also ranked No. 1 as a foreign trade zone in the U.S for merchandise received. Aucoin outlined the $82 billion in goods received that employed 10,500 people.

The facility also ranked as one of the top energy transfer ports in the nation, again pointing to the four major refineries operating at the port, as well as eight crude oil storage terminals and pipelines.

“We are blessed,” Aucoin said. “Our greatest resource is the Mississippi River.”

He said efforts to continue to seek federal funding to dredge the mouth of the river to promote better access to the port.

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