NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Port of New Orleans plans to ask for private help to complete its planned $580 million Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal expansion.
The port is unlikely to go entirely private for the projects third and final phase but officials don't expect the state to provide the estimated $240 million they still need, spokesman Matt Gresham told New Orleans CityBusiness (http://bit.ly/WwZRDt).
He said future partners could include terminal operators, shipping companies or any manner of private investment group. The final expansion phase is intended to double the port's annual container capacity to 1.6 million 20-foot-equivalent units.
"Hopefully we can get at least a foot in the door this year, including some funding for planning and design. I would consider that a success," Gresham said. "Hopefully the budget situation improves over the next several years, and the state can begin to reinvest in infrastructure."
The final expansion phase is intended to double the port's annual container capacity to 1.6 million 20-foot-equivalent units, or TEUs. The Napoleon Avenue terminal can handle 640,000 TEUs; an intermodal rail yard scheduled for completion next year will add another 200,000.
The port will soon consider proposals from three financial consultants to help assess the terminal's value and refine options.
Gulf and East Coast ports are preparing for the 2015 completion of the Panama Canal expansion project, which is expected to result in an additional 3 million to 5 million additional TEUs transiting the Gulf over the next 15 years, Gresham said. New Orleans will compete with Houston, Mobile, Ala., and Tampa, Fla., for the additional business.
Information from: New Orleans CityBusiness, http://www.neworleanscitybusiness.com