Port opens door on new storage facilities

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 22, 2010



RESERVE – Representatives with the State Department of Transportation and Development joined Port of South Louisiana officials Thursday at the port’s Globalplex facility in Reserve for a ceremony celebrating completion of one new facility and commencement of construction on another.

The port cut the ribbon on a 40,000-square-foot transit shed that will give the port more warehouse space to store dry bulk cargo for shipment overseas. Officials also announced upcoming construction on a 700-foot-long finger pier extension from the Globalplex dock.

The $6 million warehouse has a steel-enforced roof that soars 58-feet above concrete walls and is designed to withstand hurricane force winds up to 130 mph, according to a release from the port.

David Fennelly, president of Associated Terminals, the state’s stevedoring contractor, said Thursday that the facility is already stocked to the rafters with several tons of Rice from Louisiana farmers and mills ready for transport.

“It’s a true, real success story for the port, the state and our company,” Fennelly said. “It has also added another 75 jobs to the port’s staff.” Port officials said the $18.9 million pier project includes demolition of an existing pier and reconstruction of a dock that will be designed to accommodate a Panamax-sized shipping vessel. Fennelly said the new addition will allow duel docking at the 65-foot-wide Reserve pier and open up simultaneous loading and unloading of two vessels.

Fennelly explained that a Panamax vessel is a 965-foot-long cargo ship and is the largest vessel allowed to travel through the Panama Canal.

Port officials said construction on the pier is set to begin in the summer of 2010 with completion scheduled for early 2012.

Sherri LeBas, interim state transportation secretary said DOTD has contributed more than $13 million in grants to help cover construction costs of both projects, with another $6 million awaiting state approval. LeBas said Thursday that improvement of port facilities is vital to growing the state’s economy.

“These projects are a good example of DOTD leveraging funds to assist private entities in creating opportunities for the general public,” LeBas said. “We are supporting the creation of jobs, which will continue to nurture our state’s economy.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony Thursday, the port’s executive director Joel Chaisson addressed other upcoming port projects including a widening of West 10th Street, the port’s major access road, direct connections to railroad lines near the port and a future runway expansion and extension at the recently acquired St. John Airport.

“We have truly grown into an intermodal facility capable of transport by any means,” Chaisson said.