Ports & Terminals

PortSL Records Consecutive Growth Years For Tonnage

Following years of annual net decreases in tonnage, the Port of South Louisiana (PortSL) has now logged two years in a row of tonnage growth. After recording nearly 239.3 million short tons of cargo handled within the port’s jurisdiction in 2022, marking its first growth in six years, PortSL moved more than 248.1 million tons of cargo in 2023. That growth was due, in part, to a robust fourth quarter in 2023, which saw close to 10 million short tons of cargo move through the jurisdiction, which covers both sides of the Mississippi River in St. Charles, St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes in Louisiana.

Line items were generally up across the board for cargoes in 2023 compared to the year prior, with PortSL seeing overall growth in animal feed, fertilizers, concrete and stone products, crude oil, rice, wheat, steel products and sugar and molasses. Animal feed was up 40 percent, while chemicals/fertilizers were up 75 percent. Sugar and molasses surged 463 percent, year-over-year. The port recorded small decreases in coal-related cargoes, edible oils, maize, ores and phosphate rock, petrochemicals and soybeans.

“Numbers tell the story, and the Port of South Louisiana is telling a tale of resurgence,” said PortSL CEO Paul Matthews. “Through relentless innovation and strategic leaps, we’re scripting a narrative of growth, and the recent tonnage numbers underscore our port’s global appeal and versatility. Our team is focused on strengthening our partnerships with global shippers and industry along the Mississippi River, demonstrating that the Port of South Louisiana is ‘a better way to cargo.’”

In announcing the positive statistics, the port highlighted its position as the primary grain exporter in the United States and the second-largest port by tonnage in the Western Hemisphere, behind Houston. PortSL is currently building a second bridge to its Globalplex general cargo dock, allowing for both more efficient truck access and the handling of heavy loads and oversized equipment.

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Louisiana Economic Development also recently announced a $46 million commitment from Life for Tyres Group to establish L4T Louisiana LLC at Globalplex. For Life for Tyres Group, Europe’s largest tire recycling company, the new venture will be the company’s first processing facility in the United States. The recycling and manufacturing plant will convert tires to commodities like biofuel feedstock, recovered carbon black and scrap steel. The L4T Louisiana project will create an estimated 46 new jobs in St. John the Baptist Parish, with the potential for 151 indirect new jobs.

“While navigating the complexities of global trade, the Port of South Louisiana has not only reversed a historical trend with a remarkable surge in cargo but also demonstrated adaptability and resilience in an ever-evolving market,” said PortSL Board of Commissioners Chair Ryan Burks. “As we witness transformative initiatives like the Life for Tyres project and the construction of the second dock access bridge, these endeavors underscore our commitment to sustainable practices and operational excellence. It’s a testament to the port’s strategic vision and the collaborative efforts of our dedicated team which is driving progress, sustainability and prosperity for our region.”

For more information on PortSL and to see the port’s 2023 tonnage report, visit www.portsl.com.