Port NOLA LIT Up with $226MM INFRA Grant

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Port NOLA photo.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $226.2 million INFRA (Infrastructure for Rebuilding America) grant to the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) to assist the first construction phase of the $1.8 billion, 1,200-acre Louisiana International Terminal (LIT). The grant supplements a USDOT $73.77 million MEGA (National Infrastructure Project Assistance) grant recently awarded Port NOLA.

Port NOLA diagram.

LIT, described a “state-of-the-art container terminal,” will be located in Violet, La. It will leverage Port NOLA’s connectivity with four Interstate highways, all six Class I railroads, 14,500 miles of inland waterways and 30-plus inland hubs “to dramatically increase Louisiana’s import and export capacity and create unparalleled opportunity.” Port NOLA’s current container facility, near Napoleon Avenue in Uptown New Orleans, is upriver from the Crescent City Connection Bridge and can’t accommodate some large vessels.

OpenRailwayMap.org overview of major New Orleans port and rail infrastructure. LIT will be located on the lower right-hand side of this view.
OpenRailwayMap.org closeup view of LIT’s location.

The project will include approximately 1,700 feet of wharf, two ramps connecting the wharf to the container yard, an automated container stacking crane yard, utilities, storm drainage, operations buildings, entry and exit gates, and intermodal rail yard. It involves realignment of Norfolk Southern’s Louisiana Southern Branch and parallel St. Bernard Highway.

LIT will be built primarily through an $800 million dollar P3 (public-private partnership) of Port NOLA, New Jersey-based Ports America (one of North America’s largest marine terminal operators and stevedores) and Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company through its terminal development and investment arm Terminal Investment Limited (TiL). The federal INFRA and MEGA awards add to the P3 and State of Louisiana financial commitments; thus the project is largely funded. LIT has also received support from more than a dozen ports in six states as well as major U.S. trade and agriculture associations.

“We are honored to receive this landmark grant award, which underscores decades of site and market analysis and reflects the recognition of our transformational project on a global scale,” said Port NOLA President and CEO Brandy Christian. “Not only is this the biggest economic development grant in Louisiana history, but also the largest federal investment in a new container terminal in USDOT history. We look forward to delivering on this investment.”

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