Agricultural rice exports making Lake Charles a major player internationally

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 8:08 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The Port of Lake Charles has become an international hotspot for one specific export, as tons of rice are being shipped out of the port and involves hundreds of stake holders here in the United States.

Rice is one of the biggest exports that the Port of Lake Charles handles, and the rice is grown locally here in Southwest Louisiana and East Texas.

“Six years ago, we didn’t know what we’d be doing today and it’s just an exciting adventure that we’re on,” said Mark Pousson, manager of the South Louisiana Rail Facility.

The rail facility is one of the 200 partners involved in rice exporting out of the Port of Lake Charles. Pousson said even with in the three years, rice exports out of the port have taken off with each grain of “rough rice” having an impact on a global scale.

“Annually, we’re running or average around 175,000 tons a year,” Pousson said. “We’re exporting to South America, Central America. We have a vessel on the way Tuesday that will go to Columbia. The first time we go to that country.”

Cargo ship being loaded with rice at the Port of Lake Charles.

From growing it on regional farms to shipping it out of the Gulf.

“It’s a huge accomplishment you know that we’ve produced it, we’ve marketed it, we logistically delivered to the buyer,” Pousson said.

Now, partnerships that continue to bring economic growth to Southwest Louisiana are reaching Asia.

“In 2019, a company from India approached us to partner in a rice milling facility, and so we are currently under construction of a rice mill in Lacassine,” Pousson said.

The mill is another step forward in expanding the possibilities to produce more exports and developing economic growth within the region. Pousson adds that all those involved from rice produces to the stakeholders are proud of all they’ve done and are looking forward to future expansion.

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