MSC backs new $1.8 bln container terminal in Louisiana

A $1.8 billion state-of-the-art container facility on the Lower Mississippi River is in the making by the Port of New Orleans, MSC’s terminal investment arm Terminal Investment Limited (TiL) and Ports America.

Illustration; Image by PortNOLA

New Jersey-based Ports America, and one of North America’s largest marine terminal operators Mediterranean Shipping Company, through TiL, have committed $800 million toward the project.

The new Louisiana International Terminal (LIT) in St. Bernard Parish will be able to serve vessels of all sizes, dramatically increasing Louisiana’s import and export capacity and stimulating the creation of more than 17,000 new jobs statewide by 2050, Port NOLA estimates.

“This public-private partnership with the Port of New Orleans, TiL and Ports America has the potential to become one of the most impactful economic development projects in our state’s history,” Louisiana  Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

“It leverages the economic power of our greatest natural resource – the Mississippi River – and enhances Louisiana’s ability to attract new investment from companies competing in the global marketplace. Access to global markets represents expanding opportunities for both urban and rural communities. The powerful impact of this world-class logistics asset will benefit not only residents and businesses in south Louisiana, it will benefit advanced manufacturing, agribusiness and energy workers all across the state.”

“Ports America is looking forward to partnering with the Port of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana in the development of sustainable infrastructure that meets the long-term needs of the global container logistics industry on the Mississippi River,” said Matthew Leech, President and CEO of Ports America.

The project is currently in the design and permitting phase of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ environmental review process. Barring unforeseen delays, construction is slated to begin in 2025 and the first berth to open in 2028.

At full build-out, LIT will be able to handle 2 million TEUs annually, taking advantage of the deeper 50-foot Lower Mississippi River Ship Channel and avoiding height restrictions from Mississippi River bridges further up the river.

Following an extensive site selection process and feasibility studies, Port NOLA purchased 1,200 acres of land in Violet in 2020, sufficient to accommodate the terminal, value-added services and warehousing facilities, and provide a natural buffer for the nearby community. The latest design incorporates community feedback gathered over the last two years regarding traffic, drainage and other impacts on nearby homes and businesses.