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New study focuses on economic impact of Calcasieu Ship Channel

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 11:54 AM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A study commissioned by the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District (LCH&TD) recently found that the Calcasieu Ship Channel is responsible for $39 billion, or two-thirds, of the GPD of Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes.

The study, “The Economic Impacts of the Calcasieu Ship Channel,” was conducted by Martin Associates.

“By the taxes that we pay to the local and state economy, these are all the benefits that are generated by the channel,” says Director of Navigation Channing Hayden.

To calculate the local economic impact, the study measured economic impacts on the Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), Calcasieu and Cameron parishes, as well as the national impact.

2020 Economic Impacts of the Calcasieu Ship Channel
2020 Economic Impacts of the Calcasieu Ship Channel(Port of Lake Charles)

“The last time we did a study like this was in 2017,” Hayden said. “So, we try and update it. It’s been about five years. Conditions have changed. We’ve got one operating LNG facility and another one coming online and plans for several more.”

The study shows that cargo moving via the marine terminal along the ship channel in 2020 supported 158,485 jobs nationwide. That includes 108,773 jobs in Louisiana, 42,075 in Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes, and 13,279 direct jobs locally.

Marine cargo activity along the Ship Channel supported $39 billion of total economic value to the U.S. economy. Of that, $29.9 billion was in Louisiana, representing 13 percent of the state’s GDP.

“That means that 67% of the local economy is generated by the Calcasieu Ship Channel,” Hayden said. “That means that 67%, or 67 cents, out of every dollar in our pockets in Cameron and Calcasieu parish comes from the ship channel.”

The study also measured the environmental and infrastructure benefits of the ship channel. It says with nearly 4.2 billion gallons of petroleum products moved from area refineries by the Colonial Pipeline, the ship channel removes nearly 500,000 trucks from the nation’s highways. This also provides about $1.1 billion in benefits to the U.S. economy by avoiding environmental emissions, safety, and infrastructure degradation.

Additionally, over the next five years, there are $46 billion of planned projects that will use the Ship Channel which will add 90.8 million tons of cargo per year to the current cargo handled.

Projected Additional Economic Impacts Generated by the Planned Projects
Projected Additional Economic Impacts Generated by the Planned Projects(Port of Lake Charles)

When focused on local economic impacts, the 2020 study accounted for LCH&TD’s City Docks, bulk terminals, land leases, and two area casinos.

“Half of the employment in Calcasieu and Cameron Parish stems from the Calcasieu Ship Channel,” Hayden said. “The jobs that are generated are very well paying jobs that are paying on average about $95,000 a year compared to the state average of $46,000 a year.”

2020 Economic Impacts Generated by the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District (Totals are...
2020 Economic Impacts Generated by the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District (Totals are rounded and may not add up exactly)(Port of Lake Charles)

Hayden said there is a potential for the amount of well-paying jobs to double as the channel continues to grow.

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