Baton Rouge port expansion adds container storage capacity

A $5 million expansion at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge has doubled container storage capacity.

A public-private partnership between the Port of Greater Baton Rouge and SEACOR AMH has steadily increased the number of containers handled at the Inland Rivers Marine Terminal at the Port’s North Line Road facility, near the intersection of the Mississippi River and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s Port Priority Program provided $3.4 million; the Port, $1.6 million.

The expansion follows a 75% growth over a two-year period in shipping containers handled. In 2017, SEACOR AMH handled 8,018 containers at the terminal. In 2018, that number increased to 13,685 and continued to rise in 2019 to 14,000 containers.

The container-on-barge service takes empty barges from Memphis to several local petrochemical plants where they are filled with containers loaded with plastic pellets. The containers are then shipped down the Mississippi River to New Orleans where they are sent to plants in Europe, Asia and South America.

The project involved the pouring of 17,541 square yards of concrete to create nearly 4 acres of additional paved container storage capacity. The result: The yard is now capable of handling approximately 2,000 containers including containers measuring up to 40 feet, from a previous limit of 20 feet.

Port Executive Director Jay Hardman says the expansion builds more efficiency into its services. “There is increased acceptance among regional shippers to moving their products via containers on the Mississippi River versus truck and rail,” he tells MarineLog. “As the service continues to grow, it’s catching the attention of more and more potential customers.”