Nungesser speaks for building deep water portOct 14th, 2010 | By Frank McCormack | Category: news
Since its appointment by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in October 2008, the Louisiana International Gulf Transfer Terminal (LIGTT) commission – made up of a cross-section of maritime, business and government leaders – has been working to build an international deep water port near Southwest Pass in Plaquemines Parish.
The proposed super-port would take advantage of increased maritime traffic from the Panama Canal expansion (to be completed in 2014) and allow supertankers which are too large to navigate up the Mississippi River to nonetheless deliver cargo to Louisiana. Cargo would then be loaded onto smaller container ships and sent up river, servicing the eastern half of the United States and even portions of Canada.
State Senator A.G. Crowe, who serves as president of the commission, said the idea for a deep water port off the coast of Louisiana was first inspired by a desire to help the area recover from Hurricane Katrina. The larger significance of the project, he said, soon became apparent.
“While the establishment of Louisiana’s new international deep water port in the open waters of the Gulf to the east of Southwest Pass was originally designed to help bring the economy back in South Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, it has turned out to be a world-wide event with the development of an entire new supply chain connecting the east and west coasts of South America, Central America and the Panama Canal to 33 states and three Canadian provinces, starting in Louisiana through 14,500 miles of waterways via the Mississippi River and its tributaries,” said State Senator A.G. Crowe, who serves as president of the commission.
The commission is currently tasked with garnering support for the plan from cities and ports along the Mississippi River, along with attracting potential investors.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser spoke to the LIGTT Commission, which met Oct. 6 in St. Bernard Parish, to discuss a plan to use material dredged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers near Southwest Pass to begin building up the site of the future port.
“I was talking with Senator Crowe and said, ‘We have a great plan for this port and we’re looking for the investment and people to buy in to the project. It sure would be nice if we had a plot planned and a site we could show,’” Nungesser told the commission.
Nungesser suggested using sediment that the Corps already dredges near the site to begin building up the foundation of the future port.
“If we could take the beneficial use dredge material that needs to be taken out of the river anyway and prepare this site … it would, number one, make the land more valuable for the site, it would speed up the process greatly, and it would take that material out of the river. The material’s got to be moved anyway. We might as well use it to improve the site’s attractiveness to move this project forward,” Nungesser said
The planned site for the deep water port is on the eastern side of Southwest Pass. Nungesser said the Corps currently dredges sediment from the river and deposits it on the west side of Southwest Pass. To instead deposit sediment on the east side of the pass would greatly benefit the port project while still allowing the Corps to accomplish its dredging goals, Nungesser said. Crowe agreed.
“I think this is probably one of the most important things we can do right now as a committee, because it establishes a real live piece of land we can look at, that potential licensees can see that, not only have we created legislation and that this is a humongous business opportunity for the private sector, but we’re taking our sediment and put it in this location to bring a site out of the water. Even if it’s 50 or 75 acres, it will show we’ve taken that next physical step in creating this facility,” Crowe said.
Both the commission and Nungesser agreed to each begin working to move the sediment deposit site to the east side of the channel. The commission unanimously passed a resolution to that effect.
For more information on the Louisiana International Gulf Transfer Terminal Authority, go online to www.ligtt.us.