LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Port of Lake Charles contributes to a large portion of commerce in the Lake Area, and it’s seen quite a bit of damage from Hurricane Laura.
Executive director for the Port of Lake Charles, Richert Self, says the port’s damage was extensive.
“Just about every transit shed, warehouse, ship loader, ship un-loader was damaged as a result of Hurricane Laura.”
“At city docks, it’s closer to $150 million. That’s primary due to the fact that a lot of the piling and foundation area for the building was constructed in the 1930′s, and so they’re not constructed for buildings that we would need to replace to today’s code.”
Not even the docked vessels were unscathed.
“We had a lot of vessels that were seeking safe harbor at city docks, and some of those sunk.”
To help get operations back to normal, the Port of Lake Charles board passed a submission allowing the purchase of a crane worth about $6 million.
“We hope to have that in place in about 12 weeks. That will help with loading and unloading cargo. We’re continuing to handle cargo, just not as efficiently as when we had the regular ship loaders in place.”
In terms of the damage caused by Hurricane Laura versus Rita, Self says there is no comparison.
“Our insurance claim for Hurricane Rita was about $1 million. This one’s going to far exceed our $50 million cap that we have for insurance.”
He says they couldn’t have bounced back as quickly without their hard working staff.
“I’m just very thankful for our staff we have, primarily in the fact that our commissioners have been very helpful in getting us through this. Our legislative delegation has been wonderful.”
The hope is that all these restoration efforts will be able to keep the port going.