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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Northern expansion helps fuel Port growth

Northern expansion helps fuel Port growth

Just north of the E slip at Port Fourchon sits an ongoing project that will just about double the size of the port. Better known as the “northern expansion”, the project, when completed, will add four slips and 1,600 acres to an already bustling port.

Work was begun in 1999, when the Greater Lafourche Port Commission realized that drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico would bring lots of additional business and activity to the port.

Slip A, which was permitted in 1999 and completed in 2003, offers 4,700 feet of bulkhead and dock space, while Slip B offers 14,700 feet of waterfront for business needs.

Proving to be the success it was expected to be with all space on the first two slips leased, Slip C was permitted in 2011 and is expected to be completed later this year. The C slip will offer 14,700 feet of waterfront with a little more than one third of that linear footage already leased and available for use by June.

The completion of Slip C brings the total of usable waterfront at Port Fourchon to approximately 76,000 linear feet.

Slip D, which is in the process of being permitted, will have approximately 9,000 linear feet of available space and is expected to be completed in three to four years.

The expansion project and subsequent growth also called for the mitigation of some 1,600 acres of marsh, which the port is successfully completing in a designated mitigation area not far from the expansion site.

Thus far, over $258 million has been spent on bulkheads, not including dredging work and other facilities included in the expansion. The port has spent approximately 70 percent of that figure for the northern expansion with funding coming mostly through port priority funds, which are monies provided through the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), which is partially funded through the collection of fuel taxes.

Tenants making the waterfront improvements on various properties have paid for the remaining 30 percent.

“We’re very excited about the northern expansion project because it has proven to be a success and we look for that to continue as the next two slips become fully operational,” said Chett Chiasson, executive director of the port commission. “This project serves as an example of how we are keeping the port at the forefront of an ever changing and modern oil, gas and transportation industry and how we are always looking for ways to better serve our tenants and helping grow the economy for our region.”