• 66°

Port of South Louisiana pacing region, nation

Located within a 54-mile stretch of the lower Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the Port of South Louisiana offers users a strategic location at the intersection of the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico and an intermodal transportation network of waterways, roadways, rail and air featuring access to four interstate highways, four Class I railroads, the Louis Armstrong International Airport and the St. John Airport.

In 2014, the facilities within St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. James Parishes handled over 291 million short tons of cargo brought to its terminals via over 4,000 ocean-going vessels and 55,000 barges. For that reason, the Port of South Louisiana is the largest tonnage port district in the Western Hemisphere.

And with exports of over 73 million short tons of cargo, the Port of South Louisiana is not only the highest grain exporter in the United States — 50 percent of the nation’s grain is exported from the Port of South Louisiana — it is also the highest ranked exporter in North America.

Moreover, with an average of 50 million short tons of crude oil imports per year, four major oil refineries and 11 petrochemical manufacturing facilities, the Port of South Louisiana has been ranked as the No. 1 energy transfer port in the nation. The Port of South Louisiana also operates one of the most active Foreign Trade Zones (#124) in the country.

In 2013, its 12 subzones received over $46 billion in merchandise and facilitated the employment of over 10,000.

In the heart of the Port of South Louisiana lies the Globalplex Intermodal Terminal, a 335-acre maritime industrial park that provides handling and storage for bulk, break-bulk and containerized cargos.

Globalplex is designed to meet the specific needs of small- and mid-sized industrial, distribution and manufacturing operations.

The River Region’s superior intermodal transportation network cannot be denied. For instance, from the Port of South Louisiana, Mexican and Latin American markets can be reached in two to seven days.

The inland barge system, comprised of 19,262 miles of waterways, moves more than 148 million short tons of cargo upriver to 66 percent of the North American market (33 U.S. states and two Canadian Provinces).

Throughout the Port of South Louisiana jurisdiction, you will find an excellent highway system that feeds truck traffic into the region’s three major interstates (I-10, I-55 and I-12), which distributes traffic into the mainstream of the U.S. interstate system, allowing truck cargo to reach the furthest of the nation’s markets within three days.

Via the three trunk line railroads that serve the Port (Canadian National, Kansas City Southern, and Union Pacific railroads), cargo can reach its destination within seven days.

Lastly, in order to serve the needs of those who do business in the River Region, the Port of South Louisiana is currently implementing its master plan to revitalize the St. John Airport.

The growth of the River Region is a result of sound planning and support from a diversified cross-section of public and private sectors. Since 2004, the members of the River Region Economic Development Initiative (RREDI) — comprised of St. Charles Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, St. James Parish, and the Port of South Louisiana — have committed to work in tandem for the economic benefit of the region.

The overall strategy is to focus on diversifying its economic base by targeting industries that are conducive to growth in the River Region.

The Port of South Louisiana has one of North America’s largest concentration of heavy manufacturers, a reflection of the strategic location, competitive market access and highly skilled labor pool that it enjoys.

Industry leaders in the energy and chemical sectors continue to invest billions of dollars as they expand operations to capture market opportunities.

These comparative advantages have attracted millions of dollars of investment by companies in the petrochemical, fertilizer, and logistics industries.

Alexandra “Alex” Hernández is public information officer and graphic illustrator/webmaster for the Port of South Louisiana.