Port of New Orleans Gets $74M Grant for New Container Terminal

Courtesy Port of New Orleans
Rendering of the planned terminal in St. Bernard Parish (Port of New Orleans)

Published Dec 18, 2023 11:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of New Orleans has secured a $74 million grant for planning the development of a controversial new container terminal in St. Bernard Parish. The funding comes from the 2021 Infrastructure Act, a $1.2 trillion funding package for improving America's ports, waterways, railways and roads. 

The grant for Port of New Orleans will help facilitate a $1.8 billion terminal project, which is intended to help the seaport compete with Houston and Mobile in the containerized freight market. The physical limitations of the current terminal - both in depth and overhead clearance - restrict its ability to handle today's bigger ships, and New Orleans has gradually lost market share to its neighbors over the past decade. 

“This is a great day for the Port of New Orleans and our state," Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said, noting that he helped secure Louisiana's share of the bill. "The funding will not only benefit the port but also create numerous jobs and boost our communities."

New Orleans has been planning a new terminal in St. Bernard Parish since 2018. The 1,100-acre site is located about 7.5 miles to the southeast of New Orleans proper, in the small town of Violet. 

Community activists and some local officials in St. Bernard Parish are opposed to the terminal's construction, citing its impact on the environment and the local way of life. The facility would be a dominant presence in the small riverside town, and would bring an abundance of truck drayage headed to and from the waterfront. The port plans to add road infrastructure to reduce the impact on local traffic. 

In August, the parish's district attorney sued the Port of New Orleans in an attempt to halt the project. The port's director dismissed the suit as "election year theatrics," and the plan remains to move ahead with final design work and permit applications. All going well, the project should break ground in 2025. 

"For decades, it has been clear that a new container terminal is needed downriver from the Crescent City Connection Bridge in order to secure the future of the state’s trade-based economy," port CEO Brandy Christian told Nola.com.