West Calcasieu Port adds certified site

(Courtesy West Calcasieu Port)

West Calcasieu Port is now home to a Louisiana Economic Development certified site, offering shovel-ready land for businesses to build at the Sulphur location.

The 32-acre certified site is along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway off La. 27, just west of the Ellender Bridge. The port site is the 12th in Southwest Louisiana and the ninth in Calcasieu Parish to be certified under LED’s site certification program.

Gus Fontenot, project coordinator for the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, tells The American Press a tenant could use the port’s site to provide services for projects currently awaiting final investment decision, such as Driftwood LNG, Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles LNG.

“There’s going to be a lot of industrial construction activity in this area, and West Cal Port is in the heart of it,” he said. “When those projects kick off, it’ll help them get in on the game, get a piece of the action.”

Port Director Lynn Hohensee estimates the certified site could draw as many as 300 to 400 jobs.

“It could be fabrication of materials or parts or modules for new industries coming in,” Hohensee said. “It could be a laydown yard for intermodal transportation. Materials may come in by barge and wait here because there’s no space at the construction site, and when it’s needed, moved to the site.”

In September, the West Calcasieu Port received a $4.2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce targeting infrastructure and resiliency improvements in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

To be matched by $1.1 million in local funds, the Commerce Department grant will make possible 600 linear feet of bulkhead and related improvements on the north side of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway at the port.

In addition to the bulkhead improvements, the EDA grant will enable the West Calcasieu Port to install a pad that will support heavy-duty cranes. The port averages daily fleeting of 130 barges, and the crane and bulkhead improvements will help it become a more significant player in transporting large industrial modules for the liquefied natural gas industry and related plant construction, according to West Calcasieu Port Director Lynn Hohensee. The port is strategically located 1.5 miles west of the Calcasieu Ship Channel, where LNG industrial development and major module traffic is concentrated.

In 2018, Congress appropriated $600 million in economic adjustment assistance to EDA for disaster relief and recovery following Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters occurring in 2017. The West Calcasieu Port grant stems from that appropriation.