SULPHUR, La. (KPLC) - The West Calcasieu Port is getting some major upgrades, thanks to a $4.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.
“The EDA funding for this project is a part of the $600 million allocated to EDA by Congress to help communities impacted by 2017 natural disasters to help them rebuild and recover.” Jason Wilson, a representative for the U.S. Economic Development Administration said.
The grant will be matched with $1.1 million in local investment.
The project results from regional planning efforts led by the Imperial Calcasieu Regional Planning and Development Commission, and was funded by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, in which Congress appropriated $600 million to the EDA for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and other 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.
So what will the money be going towards?
“It involves a project along our waterway," Darla Perry, port CPA, said. "The total project will be $5.3 million. We will be installing 600 feet of bulkheading and a crane pad which will expand our port operations and be able to allow our port tenants to provide needed services to the maritime industry.”
“The bulkheading is going to help tremendously with silting and such as that," Dick Kennison, Board president, said. "We won’t have to dredge as often as we have had to in the past which will be a big help. We get between 100 and 120 barges coming through our port each day. That will facilitate the port going out and getting new businesses because we have the facilities to handle them.”
The port averages daily fleeting of 130 barges, and the crane and bulkhead improvements will help it become a more significant player in transporting large industrial modules for the liquefied natural gas industry and related plant construction, according to West Calcasieu Port Director Lynn Hohensee. The port is located 1.5 miles west of the Calcasieu Ship Channel, where LNG industrial development and major module traffic is concentrated.
This grant is expected to help create 400 jobs. The port says they expect the new addition to be completed within the next 18 months.