(Photo credit: Iowa Soybean Association)

Plaquemines Port Secures Rail & Land through Private Partners for Proposed Container Terminal

August 31, 2021

Plaquemines Port’s proposed gulf gateway container terminal has moved one step closer through partnerships with LA23 Development Company (Devco) and Sustainability Partners (SP) respectively, to secure land for proposed container terminal and design the rail logistics to the site.

Devco, the Port’s exclusive private development partner, has secured the site for the proposed multi-modal, state-of-the-art Container Terminal located on the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana just 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.

Chris Fetters, CEO of LA23 Devco, said “This is an exciting first step towards the project. Rail is a vital component to the success of the terminal and we are looking forward to the partnership with Sustainability Partners.”

The site encompasses approximately 1,000 acres of land and 8,200 feet of Mississippi River frontage. Situated on the west bank of the Mississippi River, 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, the proposed facility will provide access to the next generation state-of-the-art vessels with a capacity of up to 22,000 TEUs. The proposed environmentally-friendly, stateof-the-art container terminal will be powered by natural gas, allowing for equipment and operations to utilize electric drive power; thus, eliminating the need for conventional diesel drive motors.

The proposed terminal will also transition truck traffic off the roads and move containers via our nation’s marine highways to inland Midwest ports within the Mississippi River Basin exclusively by the American Patriot Holdings’ (APH) self-propelled vessels. The APH “liner” vessel is the work horse capable of 2,375 TEU capacity on the lower Mississippi River. The “hybrid” vessel is designed for transiting through the upper Mississippi River and tributary system with a payload of 1,800 TEU capacity. Together, these vessels provide Midwest shippers more flexible, reliable and cost-effective alternatives.

On July 22, 2021, the Plaquemines Port Governing Authority approved the “notice to proceed” agreement with SP to begin connecting rail to the port campus. The $50 million project will be a public-private partnership between the Port and SP to extend rail access ten miles from river mile marker 61 to multiple Port terminal operators along the Mississippi River corridor. This new extension will connect the proposed terminal to the Class I railroad network including Union Pacific and BNSF, also situated on the west bank of the Mississippi River.

Tom Caine, CEO of Sustainability Partners, said, “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Plaquemines Port. This extension project best fits our business model of working with public agencies.”

The Port’s Executive Director Sandy Sanders stated “Our development partners provide us the flexibility to leverage our opportunity with the private financing strategic elements of the project without asking the State of Louisiana for any funding of our $1 Billion project.”

Earlier this year, the Port’s Governing Authority voted unanimously to support the development of a container terminal in Plaquemines Parish.

Planning, engineering, and permitting for the rail extension is expected to take 12 to 18 months. Construction is estimated to take between six and nine months upon approval of the permit.

The Port is currently in a 120-day due diligence period with APM Terminals to determine market and financial impacts.