Port of South Louisiana stakes global position

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Port of South Louisiana, with the immense support and cooperation it receives from the governments of the Rivers Parishes, did it again.

With the announcement last week that Russian-based EuroChem Group AG will build an ammonia and urea production complex and distribution center in St. John the Baptist Parish, the Port not only proved to be a top-flight destination for international business, it staked another claim it just might be the best in the world.

Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul Aucoin recently said the Port is sitting on $12 billion of announced projects in St. John the Baptist, St. James and St. Charles Parishes, with more set to be announced. The announced new companies, along with those already operating, represent a mini-United Nations in the River Region, with business interests from China, New Zealand, Russia, India and Japan part of the economic community.

“That is a lot of foreign investment that will create jobs for good, American citizens,” Aucoin said. “We like that, and it’s a good thing. It’s unusual. Before it’s always been American companies. Now, we have a lot of foreign companies investing in land in our area.”

Aucoin said the Port broke its record in 2014, while establishing itself as the world’s largest tonnage port.

“We did 291.8 million tons in 2014,” he said. “It continues to allow us to say we are the largest tonnage port in the United States or Western Hemisphere. We’re the largest grain-exporting port with our seven grain elevators in the port district, so we’re very important to the world.”

The Port was also recently designated as the largest energy transfer port, which means it transfers more petroleum and coal products than any other port in the United States.

“That sort of surprised me,” Aucoin said. “I thought Houston would be ahead of us, but we handle more petroleum products then Houston. Of course, we have eight oil terminals within our district and four refineries.”

That combined success, which has led to unprecedented business partnerships, helped St. John Parish secure a projected 200 new jobs with average salaries close to $60,000 thanks to EuroChem’s announcement last week.

The development site is located near Edgard, on approximately 950 acres EuroChem is acquiring from the owners of the old Goldmine Plantation site near Edgard.

Considering the momentum gained recently, there is no reason to believe the positive news will end anytime soon.