Aucoin: Port of South Louisiana cargo volume again crosses 303 million short tons

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Port of South Louisiana cargo volume hovered over 303 million short tons in 2018, boosted by the movement of Coal/Lignite/Coke (37 percent), Corn (18 percent), Ores/Phosphate Rock (30 percent), Steel Products (25 percent), and Wheat (17 percent).

Total throughout 2018 registered as the second best year on record for the Port of South Louisiana (2017 is ranked first with 307.9 million short tons) as commodities were moved through its facilities via 4,402 vessel and 63,638 barges.

In the last ten years, the Port of South Louisiana’s cargo volume has increased by almost 70 million short tons and by over 102 million short tons since 1998.

Exports and domestic receipts both increased by 3 percent to 73.7 and 89.2 million short tons, correspondingly. The growth of 2.2 million short tons in export trade was aided primarily by the handling of Coal/Lignite/Coke (34 percent), Maize (16 percent), and Wheat (6 percent).

Furthermore, the increase of 2.9 million short tons in domestic receipts can be credited to gains in Maize (19 percent), Petrochemicals (9 percent), and Wheat (28 percent).

Port of South Louisiana terminals imported 65.9 million short tons of cargo in 2018, where Ores/Phosphate Rock and Steel Products surged 30 percent to 8.6 million short tons for the former and 44 percent to 2.9 million short tons for the latter.

Domestic shipments waned slightly (-0.2 percent), though Coal/Lignite/Coke, Crude Oil, Ores/Phosphates, and Steel Products increased by 26 percent to 5.9 million short tons, 6 percent to 17.1 million short tons, 37 percent to 2.7 million short tons, and 15 percent to 4.8 million short tons, respectively.

Though contentious U.S.-China trade negotiations have affected U.S. exports of agricultural goods, particularly Soybean, we are hopeful that the outcome will be positive pending on late-2018 Soybean orders from China and on-going trade talks between the two nations.

Port of South Louisiana Total Tonnage

On the flip side, tariffs on steel seem to not have impacted the movement of this commodity.

We are thankful for the continued success of the Port of South Louisiana, an accomplishment to be credited to our first-rate industries.

The Port’s comparative advantages continue to attract investment, particularly foreign investment, with at least $16.2 billion of announced projects expected to come on-line in the next couple of years.

We look forward to their positive impact, not only on the Port of South Louisiana in terms of commodity movement, but on economic prosperity in the River Region.

The Port of South Louisiana consistently ranks above the ports of Houston, New York/New Jersey, New Orleans, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Long Beach, Greater Baton Rouge, Los Angeles, and Mobile, making it the largest tonnage port in the Western Hemisphere.

In addition, according to a report by international shipping magazine Fairplay, the Port of South Louisiana is ranked 16th in the world. Of the nearly 5,000 ports, the Port of South Louisiana is the only U.S. port that ranks in the top 20 ports in the world!

Paul Aucoin is executive director of the Port of South Louisiana. For more information, call 985-652-9278.