Port NOLA Awards Management Contract for New Container Facility

NEW ORLEANS – At an Aug. 26 meeting, the board of commissioners of the Port of New Orleans unanimously approved a contract for program management and program control services to HDR Engineering Inc., a global engineering and consulting firm, as part of the multi-year due diligence and permitting process for the proposed Louisiana International Terminal container facility in St. Bernard Parish.

In December 2020, Port NOLA purchased approximately 1,100 acres of land for the project next to the existing Port of St. Bernard in Violet. In July, infrastructure consulting firm AECOM signed on to provide preliminary design and permitting support. Next steps will include consideration and evaluation of a potential terminal operator and financial partners.

Neighborhood groups and local officials have raised concerns about the project’s impact on the area, but the port says the expansion is necessary for the city’s transportation/logistics industry to keep pace with regional competitors.

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 “We are working to deliver a state-of-the art container terminal that meets the evolving needs of the shipping industry and serves as an economic catalyst for the state and region,” said Brandy D. Christian, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans, in a press release. “A project of this magnitude requires experienced program management for successful coordination of studies and design needed for a quality project. HDR Engineering’s qualifications include broad expertise, a team that has worked together on similar large container port projects, and the deep resources of a global firm with local connections.”

HDR Engineering, Inc., will serve as the technical lead for services that include, in part: terminal operation and related transportation development, risk management, procurement support, budget and schedule management, permitting and stakeholder coordination, and environmental compliance. The firm has more than 220 offices around the world, including in Baton Rouge, Metairie and Lafayette. HDR team members have worked together on large port and other infrastructure projects in the past, including, most recently, the Hugh Leatherman container terminal in Charleston, S.C. Sub-consultants for the contract include Evans-Graves Engineers Inc, based in Baton Rouge and New Orleans as well as the Advocacy Partners, based in New Orleans. The up to $4 million program management contract has a term of up to three years.

The project would occupy approximately 350-acres with a 3,500-linear-foot wharf within more than 1,000 acres of developable green-field property. The site, located within the federal government’s $14 billion flood protection system, features naturally deep-draft riverfront acreage, a 50-foot Mississippi River Channel, documented ability to navigate ships with a capacity up to 23,000 TEUs, ability to grow Port NOLA’s container-on-barge service, access to six Class I railroads through New Orleans Public Belt Railroad and access to the interstate highway system. Transportation infrastructure projects that accommodate industry and St. Bernard Parish needs beyond the terminal footprint would be coordinated for maximum positive impact, including the vision of a dedicated truck route.

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Acreage beyond the terminal site will enhance the project’s economic impact to St. Bernard Parish with space to accommodate distribution centers, value-added and logistics-related businesses, and buffer operations from the community and provide for public benefit spaces.

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