Ports & Terminals

Port NOLA Receives $73.77 Million Grant For New Container Terminal

The Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) received an early Christmas present from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), with the announcement of a $73.77 million grant for the port’s planned Louisiana International Terminal (LIT) project in St. Bernard Parish.

The U.S. DOT will award the funding as part of its MEGA Grant Program, authorized under the National Infrastructure Project Assistance program, which was part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). The MEGA Grant funds will go toward the first phase of LIT, a project that will bring a new container terminal to the Lower Mississippi River community of Violet, La. The $1.8 billion project, planned to come online in 2028, has already received funding support from Port NOLA, the state of Louisiana and private industry partners.

According to the Port of New Orleans, more than a dozen ports in six states, along with major trade and agriculture associations throughout middle America, have expressed support for LIT.

“I want to thank the Biden administration, Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the U.S. Department of Transportation for selecting the Port of New Orleans to receive this award and recognizing its importance and powerful potential,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. “The Louisiana International Terminal will become one of the greatest public economic development projects in Louisiana’s history. It is an investment that leverages the economic power of the Mississippi River and will expand opportunities for residents and business across our entire state and beyond. This is a direct result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law supported by Sen. Bill Cassidy and U.S. Rep. Troy Carter. It is a testament to the great things that can happen for our state when we work together.”

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The new terminal will eliminate the air-draft restrictions that limit the size of vessels able to call on the Port of New Orleans’ Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal, which is located upriver of the Crescent City Connection bridge. Vessels of all sizes will be able to call on the Louisiana International Terminal, which is expected to drive more import and export cargoes to the Mississippi River.

Port NOLA President and CEO Brandy Christian praised the grant support for its benefit to Louisiana and the nation.

“On behalf of the entire team at the Port of New Orleans, I would like to thank Gov. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana’s federal delegation and the Biden administration for sharing our vision to build a new efficient gateway to serve the entire state of Louisiana and America’s Heartland,” Christian said. “With Louisiana’s unmatched inland connections and with no bridges in its way, the new Louisiana International Terminal will meet market demands for much-needed supply chain solutions and bring prosperity to our region for generations to come. This funding award builds on years of careful market analysis, planning, due diligence and community outreach to ensure the project adequately addresses the market need and provides community benefits. We also look forward to working with the incoming state legislature and administration to deliver this critical project.”

The U.S. DOT grant also garnered accolades from Louisiana’s congressional delegation.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is bringing critical investments in our water systems, roads, bridges and broadband,” said. U.S. Rep. Troy Carter Sr. (D-La.) “Louisiana continues to receive outsized benefits from this historic legislation, which I championed. With this grant, the Port of New Orleans will be able to modernize and grow its operations for this century and ensure that it continues to be the economic driver for the entire region.”

“This is a great day for the Port of New Orleans and our state,” said. U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). “The funding will not only benefit the port but also create numerous jobs and boost our communities. Because I had a seat at the table for the infrastructure law, Louisiana is punching above its weight in the amount of funding we are receiving. We are building an economy for 2050.”

“This is exactly the type of investment that Louisiana and America need and builds upon our recent efforts to deepen the Mississippi River—America’s Commerce Superhighway—to handle the largest container vessels in the world,” said U.S. Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.). “The Louisiana International Terminal takes advantage of a newly deepened Mississippi River and Louisiana’s strong rail, highway and maritime transportation network to connect our state even more closely to 31 states in the river’s northern watershed and the international market to our south.”

Port NOLA has formed a public-private partnership with New Jersey-based Ports America and Terminal Investment Limited (TiL), the terminal development and investment arm of Geneva, Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company. Ports America and TiL have committed $800 million for the project, with Port NOLA committing at least $500 million. In addition, the state of Louisiana has provided $30 million toward LIT’s project development costs and another $50 million for the design of the St. Bernard Transportation Corridor, a new roadway that will connect the terminal to Interstate 10.

LIT is projected to generate 32,000 new jobs nationwide, with 18,000 new jobs in Louisiana and 4,300 new jobs in St. Bernard Parish alone. The terminal is expected to generate more than $1 billion in new state and local tax revenues by 2050.

The project has also garnered some local opposition, with the parish’s district attorney filing a lawsuit in August and a grassroots group, called Stop the Destruction of St. Bernard Committee, promoting a petition to stop construction of the terminal.