Sunday, June 23, 2024

Port of New Orleans snags $230M for infrastructure projects

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The Port of New Orleans got a boost from the Louisiana State Legislature, which committed $230.5 million to the Louisiana International Terminal (LIT) and other infrastructure projects.

The $1.8 billion LIT aims to position New Orleans as one of the top international container gateways in the Gulf of Mexico, officials said.

“The legislature’s backing of infrastructure funding to support the LIT builds upon commitments of more than $1.1 billion from the federal government and private sector,” Julia Fisher-Cormier, commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Multimodal Commerce, said in a news release Monday. “These are the types of public investments Louisiana must make to transform our trade-based economy and secure our position as a future leader of global trade.”

As part of the $230.5 million in state funds, the LIT received $10 million in direct general funding and $140 million in Priority 5 funding that will support design and construction. A Priority 5 non-cash line of credit usually means funding will be granted in future years, according to the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana.

An additional $50 million in state funding was allocated to support construction of the St. Bernard Transportation Corridor, as well as $30.5 million to rehab and construct the St. Claude Bridge.

The St. Bernard Transportation Corridor will be a new road connecting the LIT to the interstate highway system. The LIT is currently in the federal permitting process. Construction is scheduled to begin next year, with the first berth opening in 2028.

The LIT will be built in Violet, Louisiana, about 17 miles downriver from the Crescent City Connection bridge. The new terminal’s location aims to eliminate air draft restrictions for vessels that currently call at the Port of New Orleans.

Once completed, the LIT will be capable of handling 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units annually and ultralarge container vessels that travel through the Panama Canal.

“These critical infrastructure projects will solidify Louisiana’s position as the premier global gateway in the Gulf, ensuring thousands of jobs as well as long-term economic growth for the region and state,” Ronald Wendel Jr., Port of New Orleans acting president and CEO, said in a statement. 

The $230.5 million state commitment is in addition to $226 million in federal funding awarded to the Port of New Orleans earlier this year to assist in building the LIT.

The LIT will be built through a public-private partnership among the Port of New Orleans, New Jersey-based Ports America and Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC), through its terminal development and investment arm, Terminal Investment Ltd.

In 2022, Ports America and MSC committed $800 million toward the LIT project.

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