Ports & Terminals

Plaquemines Port Announces Letter Of Intent To Build New Container Terminal

The Plaquemines Port Harbor & Terminal District announced August 13 the signing of an “exclusive letter of intent” with “several potential partners” that could result in construction of a new multimodal container terminal on the Lower Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish, La. The signing of the letter of intent initiated a six-month “due diligence” period for all parties to study the feasibility of the project.

Plaquemines Port and American Patriot Holdings (APH) announced in March 2017 an agreement to partner on a project to deploy a fleet of inland container ships on the Mississippi River and its tributaries with containers originating at a new terminal in lower Plaquemines Parish. APH, one of the signers of the letter of intent, has said its inland container ships will be able to carry 2,375 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) and reach speeds of 13 mph. APH is also developing smaller container vessels with a 1,700-TEU capacity, which will traverse the Mississippi River’s tributaries. The vessels will feature LNG propulsion and cast little to no wake.

APH already has in place memorandums of understanding with many inland ports for its inland container transportation system, include the ports of St. Louis, Jefferson City and Kansas City, Mo.; Little Rock, Ark.; Memphis, Tenn.; Joliet and Cairo, Ill.; and Western Arkansas.

According to Plaquemines Port, the planned container terminal will feature both LNG and electric connectivity, cover up to 1,000 acres and offer 8,200 linear feet on the right descending bank of the Mississippi River, all a mere 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Phase 1 of the terminal will take about two years. When complete, the phase 1 terminal will be able to receive 22,000-TEU vessels.

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Port officials believe the proposed terminal’s proximity to the Gulf and the local availability of LNG will make the facility attractive to global shippers.

“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,” said Sandy Sanders, executive director of Plaquemines Port.

“We are extremely pleased and supportive that the port has attracted several world-class partners to fully explore the development of a modern and efficient terminal in Plaquemines,” said Trudy Newberry, vice chairman of Plaquemines Port.

Another signer of the letter of intent is Louisiana 23 Development Company LLC, also known as Devco, which is the exclusive private development partner for Plaquemines Port. Besides helping identify financial solutions and funding support for developing the terminal, Devco will also lead the funding and construction of support infrastructure at the terminal, including rail, warehousing and utility services.

With a “hub and spoke” arrangement between the Plaquemines container terminal and the partner inland ports combined with its inland container ship concept, officials with APH and its shipping division American Patriot Container Transport (APCT) believe the venture could revolutionize the movement of containers in the nation’s heartland.

“We are ready to get this project underway to bring improved global competitiveness to our customers,” APCT CEO Sal Litrico said.