Port of New Orleans Awarded $16.7M Construction Grant

Fri January 06, 2012 - Southeast Edition

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The Port of New Orleans has been awarded a $16.7 million federal grant to help pay for construction of a freight rail terminal and other improvements as part of a $500 million expansion of its Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal Complex.

The Times-Picayune reported the project, which received the money from the Department of Transportation, involves moving a rail yard into a new 12-acre freight terminal at the Napoleon Avenue complex, along with paving 4 acres with heavy-duty concrete that can withstand handling and storing cargo at the Louisiana Avenue Terminal.

Overall, the effort is expected to generate or maintain 384 construction and maritime jobs, with $51.42 million in benefits, over the first 20 years of the 30-year life of the project, according to figures from Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., who announced the award.

“This funding allows the Port of New Orleans to capitalize on advantages that don’t exist anywhere else in the country,” Richmond said in a statement.

Gary LaGrange, president and CEO of the port, said the project will give New Orleans a competitive edge with other ports, since the rail will be closer to the dock, allowing cargo to be transferred more efficiently.

“You can almost do a direct transfer from the ship, taking the container off and putting it directly on the rail,” LaGrange said. “They’ll save a lot of time and save a lot of money,” he said.

The port had applied for about $21 million in funding. LaGrange said the port will make up the difference. The project should be completed by the end of 2012, he said.