Port of Greater Baton Rouge expanding container storage capacity

(Tim Mueller/Port of Greater Baton Rouge) Louis Dreyfus Commondities facilities at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge

The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is expanding its Inland Rivers Marine Terminal’s container storage yard, allowing the port to handle and hold an additional 700 containers.

The expansion will grow the yard by an additional 3.5 acres and is estimated to cost $4.5 million. The project is a joint venture between the port and the Port Construction and Development Priority Program through Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development.

The project kicked off in May, says Greg Johnson, director of business development, but was stalled because of the high Mississippi River, which was causing the site to hold water. The site’s been excavated, he says, and they’re expecting a shipment of limestone soon. The port is aiming for the expanded yard to be complete and in use within the next 60 to 90 days. Hendrick Construction LLC is the contractor.

The Port of Greater Baton Rouge moved more than 13,600 containers last year, a 66% increase from 2017’s some 8,200 containers.

Port Executive Director Jay Hardman says the response from local industry to the expanded container on barge service has port staff exploring the possibility of loading containers with agricultural products, dimensional lumber or logs for export.

“Every container that goes down the Mississippi River to New Orleans for export is one less 18-wheel truck on our roads and bridges,” Hardman says in a press release.

This isn’t the only project the port is working on. In May, Gov. John Bel Edwards—joined by officials from the Port of Greater Baton Rouge and Louis Dreyfus Company—committed Louisiana capital outlay funds to complete a $20 million rail project that will enhance transfers of corn, grain, soybeans and other commodities from farmers to export vessels at the port in West Baton Rouge Parish.

This story originally appeared in Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.