Ongoing projects keep Tri-parish area ports afloat

Tuesday, Nov. 16
November 16, 2010
Neighbors angered over blight
November 18, 2010
Tuesday, Nov. 16
November 16, 2010
Neighbors angered over blight
November 18, 2010

Although they admit that the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, and the offshore drilling moratorium have impacted business this year, port commissions in the Tri-parish region contend that existing projects and long-term goals have kept them productive and positive about their future.


“We didn’t lease any additional property this year,” said Terrebonne Port Commission Executive Director David Rabalais. “I think it was all due to problems with the moratorium.”

Rabalais said that in spite of the strong current of offshore hardships during the past seven months, work at the 680-acre port has continued to be planned including a $1.5 million to $2 million road resurfacing project, and $24 million to $26 million in improvements to the LaShip bulkhead and dry dock, in addition to dredging activity.


“I don’t know if [the road work] will all be done by next year, but it could be,” Rabalais said. “[The dry dock] will be a year-long project. That’s all I can tell you. I don’t want to commit to a date because I don’t know when they will start.”


Funding for these projects was secured through combined resources including money from the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, Facility Planning and Control, the Rapid Response Program and local matching funds.

During the past year, the Greater Lafourche Port Commission has continued an expansion project with 1,100 linear feet of bulkhead work having been completed at the cost of $7 million. Additional expansion activity includes a $1 million dredging project and $2 million in improvements to roads and water lines.


“The oil spill did affect us heavily,” said Greater Lafourche Port Commission Executive Director Chett Chiasson. “To keep our tenants, and as a way to assist them, we reduced our rental rates by 30 percent and that’s going to continue through the end of the year.”

Chiasson admitted that a lot of their construction activity has been catch-up work for existing demand. “As far as business activity goes, it still is slow. However, the BP oil spill and all the documentation work that is taking place in the port is keeping many of our tenants still gong on a small percentage,” he said.

Jerry Hoffpaur is executive director at the Port of Morgan City. Unlike the Lafourche and Terrebonne ports, Morgan City was not as hard hit by the oil spill and moratorium.

Hoffpaur said that a major project during the past year, and into next year, is the construction of a new $18 million facility for Intermoor, an anchor handling, fabrication and service company.

“I don’t see any slowdown, so far,” Hoffpaur said. “We didn’t get any big influx of business from [the oil spill or moratorium] and we haven’t lost any as a result. Now, that’s directly. But indirectly with all those boats and everything maybe, but so far it hasn’t had any impact.”

The Port of Morgan City is banking on the Intermoor project sailing it into a sea of success. The port is also taking on a $300,000 dredging project while working in concert with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to increase port depth.

“People are just holding on to what they had,” Rabalais said. “Hopefully this upcoming year will be better in that regard.”