Plans to transport freight via waterway vessels on the Mississippi River could provide significant transportation cost savings for shippers according to American Patriot Container Transport (APCT).
Sal Litrico, CEO for APCT, said that shippers could potentially save 30-40% versus other intermodal alternatives as using their patented vessels on the all-water route would lower landed transportation costs.
APCT, a subsidiary of American Patriot Holdings LLC (APH), has claimed its specialised vessels would also improve reliability, enhance operational safety and reduce environmental impact.
APH’s liner vessel will carry up to 2,500 containers at speeds of 13 miles per hour with virtually no wake, making round trips from Plaquemines Port to the St.Louis region possible in 10 days.
The smaller APH Hybrid vessels would be able to connect with other ports on the tributary rivers above the locks and dams in addition to making direct trips between Plaquemines and the Midwest.
Litrico and Sandy Sanders, executive director of the Plaquemines Port Harbor and Terminal District (PPHTD) said the goal is to develop a hub-and-spoke transportation system from the Port of Plaquemines to Midwest markets.
Sanders said: “Cargo flows to the lowest cost, most efficient route, so all we had to do was build the lowest cost, most efficient route.
“We’re going to revolutionise the onward movement of cargo to the Midwest and from the Midwest to the world, utilising the first interstate highway, the inland waterway system.”
The proposed all-water route would connect ports in the St. Louis region and other ports in the Midwest to the Lower Mississippi River and ultimately to Asia, Europe and other foreign ports.
The all-water route was made possible by the expansion of the Panama Canal which can now accommodate larger vessels with capacity 18,000 teu.
Previously, the canal could only accommodate 5,000 teu vessels and 60% of ocean going vessels could not fit through the canal.
The Port of Plaquemines is building a new multimodal gateway container terminal that would be capable of servicing ocean carriers 20,000 teu capacity and could accommodate eight trains right up to the dock.
The terminal will feature modern terminal technology to expedite container throughput and be served by 15 150-gauge cranes.
However, partnerships with other ports is needed to create the volume required to make the service viable.
Mary Lamie, executive director of the St. Louis Regional Freightway, said: “The key to success is going to be the integration of all modes of transportation and building the partnerships to jointly create the volume needed to support this new option to transport freight.
“It’s an innovative alternative that offers reliability, efficiency, cargo flexibility, sustainability, and a competitive price advantage. We are starting to engage with shippers and carriers to let them know about this new option.”