Plaquemines Port Harbour and Terminal District (PPHTD) and several potential partners have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to develop a multi-modal container terminal in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, potentially boosting containerisation options for US Midwest shippers.
The LOI signing kicks off a six month due diligence period during which the parties will conduct multiple studies prior to making a final investment decision.
The proposed environmentally friendly container terminal will be powered by a combination of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and electricity.
It will encompass up to 1,000 acres and 8,200 ft of Mississippi River frontage 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.
Phase one of construction is expected to take two years and will deliver the capacity to handle 22,000 teu-size vessels with the ability to expand capacity if needed.
Plaquemines Port executive director Sandy Sanders stated: “This will be the gateway port on the Gulf Coast capable of taking full advantage of the distribution network on the Mississippi and tributary rivers while reducing road congestion in the region and accommodating LNG-powered vessels to enhance environmental sustainability.”
Parties involved believe that developing and operating a modern gateway container terminal on the Gulf Coast will reduce exposure to congestion and improve reliability while a new LNG terminal proposed adjacent to the facility opens the door for large LNG-powered containerships in the US.
Once the terminal is operational, it is hoped that US Midwest shippers will be able to containerise and export many agricultural products, refrigerated cargo and chemical resins thanks to American Patriot Holdings (APH), one of the companies who signed the LOI.
APH’s 2,375 teu liner vessel will provide Mississippi River transport as far north as St Louis, while its hybrid vessels with a capacity of 1,700 teu will provide transport in tributary rivers.
The company believes that its patented no-wake bow and exoskeleton structure, along with LNG propulsion, will reduce shipper transportation costs and improve reliability, connecting them to inland container centres around St Louis, Jefferson City, Little Rock, Memphis, Joliet, Kansas City, Cairo and Western Arkansas.
In addition, Louisiana 23 Development Company, LLC (Devco), was selected as the exclusive private development partner for Plaquemines Port in December 2019.
Devco will provide financial solutions and funding alternatives to support the container terminal development. The company will be responsible for funding and constructing infrastructure including rail, warehousing and utility services.
Plaquemines Port and Devco have also formed a strategic alliance with Dallas County Inland Port supplementing the Midwest trade network.