NOPB Advances Transloading Industrial Park Project

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
(Photograph Courtesy of the Port of New Orleans)

(Photograph Courtesy of the Port of New Orleans)

Construction will commence in April on New Orleans Public Belt Railroad’s (NOPB) Transloading Industrial Park, according to the Class III, which has awarded a $2.21 million contract to Cycle Construction Company LLC for the work.

The NOPB Transloading Industrial Park, located in New Orleans East, is slated for completion this summer. It will be a site for shippers to move products between rail and truck into America’s heartland, the railroad reported Feb. 27. NOPB already has a new, unnamed customer lined up for business.

The $3 million project will be funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) and a $1.5 million match from NOPB, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) that connects with all six Class I’s.

Infrastructure improvements at the Port NOLA-owned property include three additional tracks, rail switching capabilities, and drainage and road upgrades. The transload yard will have the capacity to service up to 21 railcars.

“The NOPB Transloading Industrial Park will allow new and current operators to enter or expand in the New Orleans market,”  said NOPB General Manager Tomeka Watson Bryant, a Railway Age 2022 “Women in Rail” and 2021 “20 Under 40” honoree.  “This is another example of the NOPB growing its network and continuing to provide safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable rail service.”

“The Port of New Orleans and the NOPB continue to provide multimodal infrastructure improvements to move freight more efficiently through our global gateway,” Port NOLA President and CEO and NOPB CEO Brandy D. Christian said. “These upgrades not only offer customers and railroad partners a competitive edge, but also will help grow the economy and bring jobs to the region.  We are grateful to state of Louisiana DOTD for their generous support in granting us the opportunity to enhance our railroad infrastructure.”

“Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development was pleased to select the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad’s project [in 2022] as one of the first projects for the new Shortline Rail Improvement Program,” said Dean Goodell, Freight and Passenger Rail Director for LADOTD’s Office of Multimodal Commerce. “We look forward to providing additional funding in the future to NOPB through this critical program.”

In a related development, NOPB in spring 2023 enlarged the France Road Rail Yard, boosting its capacity to switch, interchange and store railcars for Downtown New Orleans customers. The Class III can now accommodate an additional 220 storage cars. NOPB also has a main classification yard, Cotton Warehouse Yard, that is located in uptown New Orleans; an additional yard, Claiborne, that serves downtown customers; and four storage yards, Pauline, Race St., East Bridge, and South.

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