Port adds new barge unloader

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 20, 2003

By LEONARD GRAY-Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – A new barge unloader will be added to ADM-Reserve grain elevator in a joint venture with the Port of South Louisiana, the project being agreed upon Wednesday by the port commission.

The port executive director Joseph Accardo Jr. said the ADM elevator in Reserve, built in 1969, “is very efficient, but not as much without a barge unloader.”

A cost estimate for the addition to the facility has been estimated by ADM at $2.5 million, and ADM asked the port to pick up half the cost, or $1.25 million.

The port commission agreed to the deal at their regular monthly meeting Wednesday, with the terms including cutting dockage fees 10 percent, not to exceed $150,000 per year. Accardo said the payback time under this process would take about eight years and four months.

Commissioner Joey Murray moved, and Commissioner E.J. Martin seconded the motion toward the unanimous consent.

In another matter at Wednesday’s meeting, repair work was approved for the dock bridge at Globalplex, the successful bid for which came in at $10,000 more than originally estimated.

During 2002, problems began developing with the seven-year old bridge ramp connecting the docks to the laydown yard at the Globalplex facility. Some sections, Accardo elaborated, had been built without the proper spacing to accommodate Louisiana climate changes, which caused damage to the curbs.

Patchwork repairs had been already attempted, Accardo continued, but a more permanent reconstruction was necessary. Three companies were sent bid packets, two responded with bids and Python Construction of Slidell successfully won the job with their $46,282.37 bid.

Originally, Accardo said, GSE consulting engineers estimated the project would come in at a lower price, but further examination by the bidder determined an entire section would have to be replaced.

“It’s an unanticipated cost, but it’s something we have to do,” Accardo said.

The matter was unanimously approved.

In another matter, the port commission approved advertising for emergency bids to repair the roof to the Harbor Services barge office, damaged during a severe windstorm on June 2.

The storm tore off three-fourths of the roof, causing extensive interior damage, Harbor Services Director Mitch Smith said.

Accardo asked the matter be declared an emergency, and he anticipates a special meeting to approve the successful bidder, in case bids come in higher than Accardo’s $15,000 spending limit as director.

Finally, during Accardo’s regular report, he said cement import is picking up with 79,000 tons received last month and 70,000 more on the way at the bulk dock.

Hard Rock Construction is installing interior culverts at Globalplex, he continued, and added the port also received notice from the U.S. Department of Commerce it will receive a $16,0947 block grant for port improvements.

Also, the port got word this week that House Bill 1496 was passed by the Louisiana Senate, and the governor’s signature is expected, which will make certain the port’s security assessment report will remain a non-public document for security reasons.

Accardo said he anticipates an executive session with the commissioners to discuss the report’s findings.