Port of Lake Charles

Lake Charles Harbor & Terminal District
Contact Us

The Birth of a Louisiana Super Region

Posted on: November 13th, 2015

New Orleans has the Super Dome. Louisiana’s got a super economy. In fact, Louisiana has led all Southern states in our annual SB&D 100 ranking each of the last five years in the value of projects announced on a per capita basis. Even more, Louisiana has led all Southern states in total value of corporate and industrial investments straight up in two of the last five years.

 

Leading Louisiana to the top of the South, more so than any other region of the state, is the new super region formed recently between Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana. Louisiana was named Southern Business & Development’s “State of the Year” in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. And in 2008 and 2012, the state barely missed running the top state award to six straight years as it was recognized in those two years with a mere “honorable mention.”

 

In short, Louisiana has dominated the South’s economy, specifically in large capital investments, over the past six years. It wasn’t always that way. How many “State of the Year” awards did Louisiana win prior to 2007, now that it has won four out of the last six? From 1993 to 2006, that would be zero.

 

Two of those large capital investments — the two largest announced in the South in 2011 — happened in Southwest Louisiana. Sasol Limited and Cheniere Energy’s oil and gas investments both topped $5 billion.

 

This is what we wrote about the two largest projects announced in the South in our 2012 SB&D 100 ranking that came out in the spring: “Here is something special from the investment side of the ledger: Never before has the South seen two $5 billion or more single project investments in any year. Not only that, those two projects were announced in the same place. Both Sasol Limited and Cheniere Energy invested in gas projects in Southwest Louisiana in 2011 that topped $5 billion each.

 

That’s an all-time record for any community. In fact, the total investment by those two deals would be an all-time record for many states in the South. For it to happen in one region of a state — Southwest Louisiana — in the same year is noteworthy.”

 

Brains and brawn

 

So, what is the new 13-parish Greater Southwest Louisiana Super Region that is anchored in the Southwest by Lake Charles and in Acadiana by Lafayette?

In short, it’s a successful combination of brains and brawn that can be found throughout the super region, which was formed to help businesses like yours gain access to one of the hottest economic development regions in the American South, the fourth-largest economy in the world. When you look at the two regions, Southwest Louisiana’s economy is “brawn-based,” with a strong manufacturing sector, and the Acadiana region is “brain-based” with growing technology and health care sectors.

And both regions have a strong and well-established energy sector, with businesses covering all aspects of the oil and gas industry — manufacturing, mining, modeling, measuring and managing. Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana, together, are the energy hub of America’s Gulf Coast.

 

The human capital hatched through generations of workers in the energy industry in Louisiana’s super region is unmatched anywhere in the world — all levels of the petrochemical business, including advanced technological achievements in exploration, design, manufacturing, management and services. Yep, when Middle East oil barons need advice, they often call Cajun Country.

 

“Behind every oil sheik’s robe, there’s a Boudreaux, Broussard or Thibodeaux,” said Marion Fox, Executive Director of the Jeff Davis Parish Economic & Tourism Commission. Marion’s parish is located in the middle of the Southwest Louisiana-Acadiana super region.

 

Interestingly enough, Marion Fox and Jeff Davis Parish leaders are recruiting much of that oil and gas industry human capital to return home after serving those sheiks. “We are a rural parish, but we have a lot to offer to those in the oil and gas industry — wherever they may be — now and when it’s time for them to retire. Unlike many places, our culture draws our people back home and part of our economic development strategy is to assist in that,” Fox said.

 

To write that the petrochemical industry — oil, gas, chemicals and all of the variations and spin-off jobs from it — is a huge factor in Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana is like writing that Arkansas-based Wal-Mart is a huge factor in northwest Arkansas’ economy or FedEx or Disney World are major factors in west Tennessee’s or central Florida’s economy. It’s a no-brainer. But how large is the oil and gas industry in Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana, you might ask?

 

Well, various sources estimate that more than 300,000 workers — one in six statewide — hold jobs which are directly or indirectly tied to oil and gas industry in Louisiana. And, including federal reserves, Louisiana holds about 20 percent of total U.S. oil reserves and about 12 percent of natural gas reserves.

 

In addition, SB&D estimates that oil and gas operations in Louisiana last year had an economic impact of about $80 billion. We also estimate that about 40 percent of that $80 billion comes from the Southwest Louisiana and Acadiana regions.

 

“Oil and gas extraction are both large and ‘old’ industries in this section of Louisiana,” said Dr. Loren C. Scott, referring to the Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana regions. Scott runs the three-decade-old Loren C. Scott & Associates consulting firm that has worked with ExxonMobil and other oil and gas companies. He is also Professor Emeritus of Economics at LSU. “Every kind of business you can imagine that is associated with the extraction industry — fabricators, service companies and users of the end product like the petrochemical industry — are located in this industry-friendly region.

 

What can oil-rich markets like the super region of Southwest Louisiana do for your non-oil related business?

 

Being the energy hub of the America’s Gulf Coast is an easy label to slap on to this super region and leaders of the area are proud of that. And why not? The petrochemical industry has provided the financial base for Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana to diversify their economies and prosper even more. The result is an ecosystem that is a perfect location for non-energy-related companies, particularly those involved in manufacturing and high technology.

 

Companies like yours may want to check out what oil-rich regions like Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana can offer your non-energy-related company. Why? Unlike markets that are not oil-rich, this super region has the cash and other incentives to satisfy almost any reasonable request for any size project. And like other oil-rich markets in the South, such as those located near the oil and gas shale plays, now is the time for Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana to further diversify their economies. That is one of the reasons the two regions are joining together — to leverage regional assets to advance economic development efforts. And it’s working.

 

Take the Lafayette metro for instance, the center of the Acadiana region. This place, filled with Cajun and Creole cultures, is an entrepreneurial-based economy that has few peers. That entrepreneurial spirit has helped Lafayette leap to the top of many studies and rankings such as:

 

  • In 2012, IHS Global projected that Lafayette will have the highest growth in employment (8.8 percent) and the second-highest gross metropolitan product growth (7.5 percent) of all 363 U.S. metro areas.
  • Lafayette was one of 25 counties in the nation named by CNN Money in August in a story titled, “Where the jobs are.”
  • New Geography, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, named Lafayette No. 1 in a “Best cities for job growth” study among mid-sized markets in the U.S.
  • Forbes’ annual list of best mid-sized cities for job growth saw Lafayette top the list with a growth rate of 5.2 percent from December 2010 to December 2011.
  • And finally, Gallup cited Lafayette as the second most optimistic city in the nation with 75 percent of respondents replying positively about the community.

 

All these accolades for Lafayette, La., have come in 2012, alone.

Over in Lake Charles, the anchor market for Southwest Louisiana, the accolades have piled up as well. The Chamber SWLA, the primary economic development agency, received a 5-Star Accreditation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The recognition put the Chamber SWLA in the top 1 percent of chambers nationwide.

 

The Lake Charles metro area was recognized by Site Selection magazine as the 2010 Top Metro Area with a population of 200,000 or less. In 2011, Lake Charles was recognized by Southern Business & Development as the “Mid-Market of the Year.” And as mentioned, in 2011, the Southwest Louisiana region landed the largest and second-largest projects announced in the American South in Sasol and Cheniere.

 

Together, Southwest Louisiana and Acadiana are a powerful force for industry

 

One of the reasons these two decorated regions are banding together in an effort to further economic development is because the differences in their economies complement one another.

 

Acadiana is rich in technology-related ventures, such as the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE), one of only a handful of facilities in the world that combines high-performance computing with advanced visualization. The facility houses a staff of professional artists and software engineers who specialize in product development.

 

A project created as a partnership between the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Louisiana Economic Development, LITE is the only facility of its kind in North America open to private industry, government and academia.

 

Software development, information technology, health care and other technology-related industries are a big deal in Lafayette. For example, Lafayette-based Schumacher Group, the nation’s third largest emergency medicine staffing and management company, announced a major expansion of its headquarters last summer. The deal will create 600 jobs. The company uses advanced technology to integrate hospital services.

 

“Leaders in Lafayette have a fundamental appreciation of the vital role of technology in Lafayette’s success,” said Gregg Gothreaux, President and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. “With innovative community initiatives like the Opportunity Machine, LITE, and dedicated, low-cost gigabit fiber connectivity; you have a community that has seen a surge in technology-intensive companies in the past decade and is poised to create a stronger, more diverse technology-driven economy in the years to come.”

 

While the Acadiana region is an emerging brain-based market in Louisiana, the South and the nation, Southwest Louisiana is a global center of manufacturing muscle. In Southwest Louisiana you will find some of the largest industrial investments in the world. Some look like ordinary tank farms, but they are $6 billion tank farms, such as Cheniere’s.

 

We got the opportunity to fly over many of the petrochemical facilities in Southwest Louisiana, including the site of the $10-billion-plus Sasol facility, as well as Cheniere Energy’s liquid natural gas facility that is located in Cameron Parish, right on the Louisiana-Texas border.

 

The helicopter flight was an incredible experience — observing the South’s oil, gas and chemical industry’s evolution, sometimes from just 30 feet above, which is quickly beefing up this nation’s exports at growth rates not seen in 50 years.

For example, it took the U.S. 10 years to double its exports. That’s what occurred from 2000 to 2010. In the second quarter of this year, the U.S. exported more than half of what was exported in the entire year of 2011. Therefore, U.S. exports in 2012 will double exports from 2011 and Southwest Louisiana is a major contributor to those numbers. It should be noted that the American South accounts for over 40 percent of U.S. exports and what is being shipped out of Southwest Louisiana and the Gulf Coast accounts for the majority of the South’s exports.

 

All of the logistical advantages and a place where your business can thrive politically

 

Brains and brawn is a good combination, and Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana have positioned themselves to use that to their advantage. But there are other reasons why these two regions are working together as a super region.

 

“We are doing this to help us both in a variety of ways,” said George Swift, President and CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “By joining together, we can exert more influence in the political arenas in Baton Rouge and Washington. And we can sell to business the fact that these two regions represent a market of almost 900,000 people. It just makes sense for us to work together,” Swift said.

 

It does make sense. Acadiana is tech-savvy. Southwest Louisiana is muscled up and that includes the Port of Lake Charles, the 11th largest U.S. seaport.

 

The Port of Lake Charles, which was created by the Louisiana Legislature in 1924, encompasses 203 square miles in Calcasieu Parish and accommodates 5 million tons of cargo annually. The ship channel has a project depth of 40 feet and a bottom width of 400 feet.

 

All kinds of products are shipped out of the port, but its principal cargoes are rice and other food products, forest products, aluminum, machinery and petroleum products.

 

Rebecca Shirley, Director of Lafayette-based Acadiana Economic Development, knows the importance of the port for her region. “Lafayette and Acadiana don’t have a deepwater port. We have shallow draft ports and diverse business parks, but we would never be able to recruit a Cheniere or Sasol like the Southwest region has successfully done. So, beyond the political clout that comes from Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana working together, it really comes down to we both need what each of us have,” said Shirley.

 

Rural regions of Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana

 

The rural parishes of Allen, Beauregard, Cameron and Jeff Davis in Southwest Louisiana, and Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion in Acadiana have needs as well. They need the resources of the larger, anchor parishes, such as Calcasieu (Lake Charles) and Lafayette (Lafayette). And Lake Charles and Lafayette need the rural parishes.

 

In the rural parishes of the Greater Southwest Louisiana Super Region, natural resources such as fishing and oil and gas in the coastal parishes and agribusiness in the inland parishes are king. So, too, are the various aspects of the oil and gas business that employ pipefitters, welders and machinists.

 

“Many of our manufacturers in Lafayette and I’m sure in Lake Charles, prefer the workers who come from the rural parishes,” Acadiana’s Shirley said. “Many of them come from a farm background and therefore have a great work ethic. The labor force from the smaller parishes of this region is all about hard work.”

 

George Swift agreed that the rural areas of the super region are critical players. “The Beauregard Airport property has a great future,” Swift said. “We are working on certifying a site there. Some of the larger industrial sites are located in the rural parishes and we are marketing those areas.”

 

A call out to those companies who are joining the reshoring rage

 

“Manufacturing rules!” That was the headline of Southern Business & Development’s last edition. The numbers don’t lie. Manufacturing is setting records in the South and that’s been the case since 2007. The export data we previously presented are representative of that. Manufacturing and the resulting exports are growing so fast it is difficult to keep up with the numbers.

 

This new manufacturing phenomenon might be the biggest thing to happen to the South’s economy in decades. For you who are considering reshoring or outsourcing manufacturing to the South, you cannot find a better workforce than in Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana. The manufacturing talent available in Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana is stable, growing and ready to work.

 

Conclusion

 

The building blocks put in place that have propelled Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana — the Greater Southwest Louisiana Super Region — to such lofty rankings are numerous and so well placed. With help from two outstanding universities — University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Lake Charles-based McNeese State University — the economic foundation that make up this super region create a diversity — super brains and super brawn — that is rarely seen anywhere in the South.

 

You will not find more professional organizations than Acadiana Economic Development and the SWLA Economic Development Alliance anywhere. . .and the fact that they are working together in an effort to diversify their economies is almost unprecedented. Welcome to Louisiana’s super region.

By Mike Randle

Original article: http://www.sb-d.com/Features/SWLA/tabid/526/Default.aspx

For more information about the Southwest Louisiana-Acadiana super region, contact Rebecca Shirley at 337.769.7646 or by email at rebeccas@teamacadiana.org and George Swift at 337.433.3632 or by email atgswift@allianceswla.org.

Sasol delivering on Louisiana First commitment

Posted on: November 13th, 2015

 

Sasol delivering on Louisiana First commitment

Company reports significant progress on its pledge to hire Louisiana workers and use Louisiana contractors, suppliers and vendors for its Southwest Louisiana mega project

Westlake, Louisiana – Sasol today released a status update on its $8.9 billion ethane cracker and derivatives complex and the company’s progress toward its Louisiana First strategy, nearly one year after announcing final investment decision.

“We are delivering on our commitment to hire Louisiana workers and use Louisiana businesses first for our contracting and procurement needs,” said Mike Thomas, senior vice president of Sasol North American Operations. “A local workforce and contractor support team with experience and strong ties to our community adds considerable value to our operations and helps strengthen the local economy.”

Employment

There are job opportunities available in both the operational and construction phases of the project. Of the more than 500 full-time, Sasol positions to operate the new ethane cracker and derivative units, Sasol has hired more than 200, including operators, processors, engineers, laboratory analysts, chemists as well as operations and maintenance personnel. Close to eighty percent of these new hires are from Calcasieu Parish; the majority of the remaining hires are from other cities in Louisiana.

Of the 5,000 temporary construction phase positions, approximately 3,300 workers are on site today through eight major Louisiana construction contractors and Fluor Technip Integrated.

Contracting

Sasol appointed eight major Louisiana-based contractors to support construction of its ethane cracker and derivatives project, reflecting a commitment of more than $2.5 billion in contracts to Louisiana businesses to date.

Procurement

Sasol has spent more than $250 million with Louisiana suppliers for materials and equipment, more than $70 million of which is with Calcasieu Parish suppliers.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Sasol has expended nearly $4 million over the last three years in education, workforce development and small business development signature initiatives. Examples include a regional impact study; scholarships for craft and skills for Westlake and Mossville residents; resource guides for residents and businesses with information about how to get a job and work with area industry; and science, technology, engineering and math programs within local schools to prepare our youngest community members for quality careers. For more information about Sasol’s Corporate Social Responsibility investments, visit SasolNorthAmerica.com/sasolCSR.

Project Update

Early works activities, site preparation and civil construction work have been under way since 2014. On-site concrete batch plants are operational and internal haul routes are complete, eliminating a significant amount of off-site public road use for material delivery and earthmoving activities. Site aboveground work and heavy equipment deliveries began this fall.

The first phase of the heavy haul route strengthening project is complete, and widening work is under way with the first Sasol heavy haul transports planned for early December. Other infrastructure improvements will be performed over the next several months throughout the city of Westlake and surrounding areas as agreed with the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. The heavy haul route work and other infrastructure improvement projects, including a significant amount of new water, sewer and gas line infrastructure for the city of Westlake along the heavy haul route, represent an investment of more than $40 million with $35 million in the city of Westlake alone.

Mechanical, electrical and instrumentation work are scheduled to begin in 2016 and continue throughout 2017. Sasol expects the facility to begin a phased commissioning in 2017, with full plant operation expected in 2018.

Ethane “cracking” is the process of converting molecules of ethane extracted from natural gas into ethylene, one of the building blocks of the petrochemical industry. The facility will produce approximately 1.5 million tons of ethylene per year. The ethylene will be used in six new downstream derivative plants to produce a range of high-value derivatives used in everyday products such as synthetic fibers, detergents, fragrances, paints, film and packaging.

For more information about project progress, visit www.sasolnorthamerica.com.

Contact:

Michael Hayes, Sasol

michael.hayes@us.sasol.com

 

Media Release                                      

11 November, 2015

Original link: http://www.sasolnorthamerica.com/LouisianaFirst

 

Dongsung Finetec America LLC

Posted on: October 27th, 2015

Lake Charles, Louisiana—October 21, 2015—Dongsung Finetec America LLC, announced today that after more than three years of evaluating the US natural gas markets, it has moved forward with its plans to expand its operations from South Korea. Dongsung Finetec is well established as a world leading force in the development and manufacturing of many types of insulation, specializing in Cryogenic insulation.

Dongsung Finetec America LLC has secured a lease with the Port of Lake Charles with the intention of developing a manufacturing facility. The facility will cater to the cryogenic industry and aspirations of the USA based LNG companies along with the full range of traditional insulation materials and service, such as hot, cold, personal protection and acoustics.

James Choi, Senior VP with Dongsung, said: “We are very excited to be expanding our activities to the USA. The help and assistance of the Port of Lake Charles has been central to our decision. Clearly the USA and Southwest Louisiana are becoming significant players in the LNG industry. We have made a commitment to continue supporting our existing international customers here in the USA. We feel confident that our world-class insulation technology can add value to all manner of projects within the USA. We feel the market, even in these times of low oil prices, has a bright future in relation to the developing natural gas industry. Through technology transfer and providing local long term opportunities for residents in Lake Charles, we will be able to offer a positive long term impression on the community. Our plans are for the long term broader US and Americas markets; we are not specific project driven—we are here for the long haul.”

William R. Rase, III, Executive Director of the Port of Lake Charles, said: “The decision of Dongsung Finetec to choose the Port of Lake Charles for its first in the USA manufacturing site with its 200 manufacturing jobs demonstrates the tremendous spin-off positive impacts of the Calcasieu Ship Channel and the many new and existing industries and businesses dependent upon the channel for jobs and growth in the region.”

Dongsung will now embark on a two-phase development of the leased facility in Lake Charles. Phase one is the restoration of the existing circa 59,000 square feet building. Phase two is the installation of the manufacturing lines, equipment recruitment along with training and development of the workforce. The projected permanent employment at the facility could reach as many as 200 people with triple that number employed at the workface during the installation of the insulation material.

The facility is expected to be fully operational by May 2016 with further expansions to follow aligned with the requirements of the LNG industry within the USA. The overall initial phased investment will be in the region of $5,000,000 USD.

Calcasieu Ship Channel: SWLA’s Economic Driver

Posted on: October 22nd, 2015

Red ship City DocksLake Charles, La.­—A study released by the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District dramatically underscores the far-reaching economic impact of a single physical feature—the Calcasieu Ship Channel—on the Lake Charles region, the state of Louisiana and the nation.

The study, titled “Economic and Fiscal Impacts of the Calcasieu Ship Channel,” concludes that the health of almost half of the Lake Charles metro economy depends on the health of the channel. For instance, nearly one third of jobs in the Lake Charles metro area are tied to the channel and the port authority, and maritime commerce accounts for 46 percent of the Lake Charles economy’s total $14.8 billion of business activity.

“The document demonstrates to stakeholders just how vital this waterway is to Southwest Louisiana. The fact that we are a ‘port city’ has brought tremendous economic benefits to our area,” said Bill Rase, executive director of the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District. “And the study gives us a preview of how our economy will benefit from the $80+ billion in capital investments announced for the area—80 percent of which is being made because of the Calcasieu Ship Channel.”

The Calcasieu Ship Channel was engineered in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s to straighten, widen and deepen the Calcasieu River from Lake Charles to the Gulf of Mexico, making Lake Charles a deepwater port, although it is 34 miles inland. The ship channel became a highway for the delivery of goods, both inbound and outbound, and dozens of companies built facilities on the channel to produce, process, send or receive those goods. The Lake Charles Harbor & Terminal District has grown to become the 11th-busiest port in the United States by tonnage, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers figures for 2013, the latest year available.

All that channel activity, the report concludes, is a major driving factor in the economy of the region, the state and the nation.

Some key findings of the study (figures are for 2014):

  • The ship channel is responsible for nearly 36,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the area, or 31 percent of the total employment in the Lake Charles metro area, and 50 percent of local tax revenue is generated from industrial production or maritime services tied directly to the ship channel.
  • Over 80 percent of the manufacturing employment in Lake Charles is strongly tied to waterway-dependent industries.
  • Some 46 percent of the GDP in Lake Charles directly depends on the ship channel for either raw material receipt or for the shipment of finished product.
  • An additional $1 billion of earnings and $1.3 billion of personal income is generated outside of the Lake Charles economy from the ship channel’s production and services.
  • Industries relying on the ship channel produce nearly 13,000 additional jobs outside of the local economy. The total number of jobs in Louisiana generated by the ship channel is nearly 50,000 jobs or almost 2 percent of the state’s workforce.
  • The ship channel and associated industrial production contributed $916 million in federal taxes in 2014; that figure is expected to rise to $1.3 billion in 2023.

These impacts will grow tremendously in the next several years as the regional economic boom continues to materialize. If the proposed 19 industrial projects tied to the ship channel are completed and operational in 2023, the study states that the region will see a 25 percent increase in channel-dependent jobs, a 78 percent expansion in channel-dependent GDP and more than double the local tax revenues generated from channel–dependent companies.

“We’re happy to see that so many people—from plant operators to retail store clerks to construction workers—have jobs because of the ship channel and its maritime activity,” said Barbara McManus, president of the Port of Lake Charles Board of Commissioners. “This is why the Port Authority works so hard to protect and maintain the channel—it truly carries the lifeblood of our area.”

This economic impact study was conducted by CSRS and Taimerica Management Co. The findings will provide the data the Port Authority needs to continue lobbying efforts at the local, regional, state and federal levels to secure adequate funding for channel operations and maintenance,” Rase said.

Download the full Economic Impact Study

Port of Lake Charles Announces Winners Of 18th Annual Rice Cook-Off

Posted on: September 28th, 2015
Rice Cook Off Winners 2015

Pictured, from left: Barbara McManus, President Port of Lake Charles Board of Commissioners; Rainbeaux Teague (1st place); Janner Roach (2nd Place); Shamarah Victorian (3rd Place); Austin Lisotta (Most Heart Healthy Dish); Adam Habetz, President Calcasieu-Cameron Rice Growers Association.

Lake Charles, La.—Sept. 23, 2015—In celebration of September as National Rice Month, the Calcasieu-Cameron Rice Growers sponsored the 18th Annual Rice Cook-Off on Tues., Sept. 22. The Port of Lake Charles hosted the event and sponsored the awards luncheon. Family and Consumer Science students from thirteen area middle schools and high schools participated in the event.

1st place for the “Best Dish” category went to Rainbeaux Teague (Mexican Brown Rice Salad) of Westlake High School; 2nd place went to Janner Roach (Creole Stuffed Beef Roast) of Iowa Middle School; 3rd place was awarded to Shamarah Victorian (Taco Rice) of Washington-Marion High School; and “Most Heart Healthy” dish to Austin Lisotta (Veggie Jambalaya) of South Beauregard School. Farmers Rice Milling Co., Inc. sponsored rice cookers for each contestant.

The production, milling and exportation of rice have major economic effects on Southwest Louisiana, and the event helps to educate local students in health and nutrition issues facing Southwest Louisiana families.

For more information, contact Jimmy Meaux at 337-475-8812 or Michelle Bolen with the Port of Lake Charles at 337-493-3501.

 

Port of Lake Charles to Host 18th Annual Rice Cook-Off

Posted on: August 31st, 2015

Lake Charles, La.—September is National Rice Month, and in celebration, the Calcasieu-Cameron Rice Growers will sponsor the 18th Annual Rice Cook-Off on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at Brick House Catering in Lake Charles. The contest will begin at 10:30 a.m. with an awards luncheon to follow at 11:30 a.m. The Port of Lake Charles will host the event and sponsor the awards luncheon. 

Family and Consumer Science students from area middle schools and high schools are invited to participate. First, second and third cash prizes are given in the Best Rice Dish category and first place is given to the Most Heart Healthy Dish. Farmers Rice Milling Co., Inc., sponsors a rice cooker for each contestant. 

The production, milling and exportation of rice have major economic effects on Southwest Louisiana, and the event helps to educate local students in health and nutrition issues facing Southwest Louisiana families.

For more information, contact Jimmy Meaux at 337-475-8812 or Michelle Bolen with the Port of Lake Charles at 337-493-3501.

A Clear Path Ahead: The Port of Lake Charles Keeps Pace With Boom

Posted on: August 18th, 2015

If you’ve ever flown in or out of Lake Charles, you’ve likely been struck by the Southwest Louisiana landscape from 30,000 feet up. Astronauts in orbit seeing Earth below are said to experience the Overview Effect—a powerful shift in awareness that brings the “big picture” into light. On a much smaller scale, a similar feeling can be felt when flying over our waterways; you can’t help but feel the significance of our region’s biggest asset in the big economic picture.

“The role Southwest Louisiana plays in national and global economies can be measured by the Calcasieu River Ship Channel,” said Bill Rase, executive director of the Port of Lake Charles, “The channel is a big reason why companies across the globe now recognize Lake Charles.”

Southwest Louisiana’s economy, culture and history are hard wired with the influence of the channel, which—according to Lake Area Industry Association, an organization comprised of area oil and petrochemical plants—feeds the nation 7.5% of its daily petroleum products consumption. The channel has become the ideal environment for industry leaders like Phillips 66, Citgo, Axiall, Sasol, Magnolia LNG, Big Lake Fuels, Lake Charles LNG and Cameron LNG, among others.

The channel is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and dredging is never a one-person job. Port leadership and channel users regularly advocate to Congress for increased maintenance funds, which will help the channel reach federally mandated dimensions and reduce transportation costs to channel users. Without proper channel maintenance, the region could expect to see a much smaller dollar figure for announced capital investments.

“The economic boom is dependent upon our deep water access,” continued Rase. “In addition to our pipeline infrastructure and access to natural gas, the channel’s importance in the big picture cannot be overstated.”

Appointed executive director of the Port of Lake Charles in 2010, Rase stands at the helm during an exciting time for our region when evolving transportation demands are being met with innovative and proactive solutions. The Port’s senior management team works across department lines and embodies all aspects of port operations from the ground up—a quality Rase encourages for his team.

Prior to his tenure at the Port, Rase worked at numerous ports and terminal companies along the east coast and Gulf Coast. His father worked for a stevedoring company in New Orleans, so Rase’s roots in the maritime industry run deep. After a successful career as a professional golfer—during which he played on the PGA tour for two years—Rase began working for New Orleans Stevedoring Company. In 2002, Rase landed at the Port of Lake Charles where he served as director of operations before his appointment as executive director.

“After working through the ranks, it became clear that the more you can learn about all aspects of a port, the better,” said Rase. “Just as we encourage our team to diversify their roles, we expect the same of our mission. The Port has to constantly evolve and diversify its capabilities in order to meet the needs of a global market.”

While the average person may think the Port begins and ends at the city docks, the reality is that operations extend beyond Lake Charles. The Port District encompasses 203 square miles, on which the Port owns and operates 5,000 acres throughout the District. Together with the Port’s numerous tenant facilities, Southwest Louisiana’s global ties grow as more international eyes look to the region.

“Smart growth is key to sustaining an economic boom,” Rase said. “As new facilities achieve project milestones and new cargo handling demands come up, we aim to improve and modernize our services and capabilities.”

Located at the Port, the IFG Holdings bulk grain elevator, which is already drawing international customers, is close to being operational, and it will move 1 million tons of grain annually. The Port’s loop train track system works congruently with the elevator to increase handling speed and overall efficiency.

Port leadership commissioned a traffic study that evaluated the current capabilities of the channel, and it projected that deep-draft ship traffic on the channel will double by 2020. The study found that the channel could easily handle the growth if it is properly dredged. The Port will continue filling a need for project cargo as facilities look to transport equipment and construction materials as close to their project sites as possible.

In addition to a new administrative building and modernized warehouses, Rase reminds us that the Port fuels our region’s workforce. “Many people don’t realize that most of the jobs in the area, in some way, depend on the channel and the Port,” said Rase. “At the end of the day, we are as much of an economic driver as we are an advocate for the betterment of Southwest Louisiana.”

The Port of Lake Charles is governed by a seven-member board of commissioners and comprises two marine terminals and over 5,000 acres of property zoned for industrial use, including an industrial park. For more information, call 337-439-3661.

Barbara McManus Selected President Of Port Board Of Commissioners

Posted on: July 27th, 2015

Lake Charles, La.—Barbara McManus, a director of Eagle Federal Credit Union, was recently elected president of the seven-member Board of Commissioners of the Lake Charles Harbor & Terminal District, which operates the Port of Lake Charles. A resident of Lake Charles since 1960, McManus has a bachelor’s in education from McNeese State University. She was appointed to the board by the Legislature in 2011, and for 35 years she has been actively involved as a board member of the Louisiana State Employees Retirement System.

Dr. Daryl Burckel, a professor of accounting at McNeese State University, was elected vice president. Dr. Burckel served as department chair of the Accounting, Finance and Economic Department at McNeese from 1996 to 2002. A former city councilman for the City of Lake Charles, Dr. Burckel has consulted for numerous local governmental entities and serves on local and state boards that impact the Southwest Louisiana community.

Former mayor of Westlake, Dudley Dixon, was elected secretary/treasurer. Dixon was appointed to the board in 2012 by Governor Bobby Jindal. After retiring from Conoco in 1982, Dixon served as mayor of Westlake for six terms. He has served on many local and state boards, including IMCAL, West Calcasieu Association of Commerce, Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association and the Municipal Employees Retirement System where he serves as chairman.

Michael Eason was elected assistant secretary/treasurer for the commissioners. Appointed to the board by Governor Bobby Jindal in 2013, Eason is senior vice president and resident director of Merrill Lynch in Lake Charles with a 30-year tenure.

The Port of Lake Charles is governed by a seven-member board of commissioners and comprises two marine terminals and over 5,000 acres of property zoned for industrial use, including an industrial park.Barbara McManus, full sized

For more information, call 337-439-3661 or visit www.portlc.com.

Of Great Importance Lake Charles Port’s Role Integral, Often Overlooked

Posted on: July 27th, 2015

By Crystal Stevenson, Lake Charles American Press

June 28, 2015

Despite being out in the open, the Port of Lake Charles often works in the shadows of the public image.

“The Port of Lake Charles is a very integral part of the community here, and actually touches a lot more of the community than maybe the common person recognizes,” said Bill Rase, executive director of the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District.

Lake Charles has been a port of call since the early 1800s for sailing vessels navigating the shallow river to pick up cargoes of lumber. Today, the port is the 13th largest in the nation and leases much of its 5,000 square acres of prime real estate to many of the biggest economic players in the region that require deepwater access.

“Once all the LNG facilities are put in place, we’ll probably move into the top 10,” Rase said. “Current industrial sites that have been here for decades rely on the Calcasieu River Ship Channel, and deep-water access makes Southwest Louisiana an ideal location for announced projects.”

He said the announced industrial projects expected to be built in the area have really put Lake Charles on the map.

“With all the capital investments, its driving people to recognize the port around the world. We’ve had people in from Korea, China and so forth, they know where Lake Charles is now. That didn’t happen seven, eight, 10 years ago.”

Rase said the port is divided into two sections: cargo at port-owned facilities and docks and the ship channel, which runs from Calcasieu through Cameron Parish and 32 miles into the Gulf of Mexico.

He said the port plays a vital role in facilitating industrial expansion, meeting transportation needs ‍of the current sites and growing cargo handling capabilities.

“If you take a look at the number of people who are employed along the channel — such as Citgo, Phillips 66, Axiall — the total employment plus the employment that feeds off of those particular companies, you’re talking about a very large piece of the community that is actually tied to the Port of Lake Charles.”

Rase said the port will likely be responsible for 40 percent of the dollar value of the exported products that leaves Lake Charles during the height of the industrial expansion.

“Without this channel, these businesses don’t exist and I think that’s what the community doesn’t recognize,” Rase said. “I think people underestimate what needs to be done and what has to be done in order to do that.”

He said if the channel is not adequately maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the port “runs the risk of losing potential projects and damaging the current transportation capabilities, including 7.5 percent of America’s daily energy consumption that comes from facilities along the channel.”

“Basically with economic expansion I always relate it to a three-legged stool,” he said. “The only reason it’s here is that you have a deepwater channel of 40 feet, you have a pipeline system that is second to none, and then you have the ability for natural gas from the fracking process. If you kick any one of those legs out, the other two don’t need to be here.”

He said products made in Lake Charles are exported throughout the country.

“If you follow the pipeline system, we reach New York, Ohio and on and on in product that leaves Lake Charles that gets to those areas,” he said. “When you really look at the overall picture of the port, everybody looks at city docks as the port, well that’s really not the total port.”

He said the port has about 1,000 ships pass through each year. He expects about 2,000 a year at the height ‍of the area’s industrial boom in 2020.

Rase said a study on the depth of the channel has found that the channel is capable of handling that much traffic, but will need to be dredged to meet the federal requirement of 40 feet deep and 400 feet wide.

“We have less than that now so we actually have draft restrictions which costs companies quite a bit of money because they can’t load their vessels to maximum depth,” he said. “We have dredges out there working now but we’ve had this restriction in place since December so each one of these companies will probably lose somewhere close to $1 million that they could have saved. It’s a big issue around the country. It’s not just here in Lake Charles.”

“If the channel is not wide enough and cannot allow more than one ship to pass, transportation will be significantly slowed and increased shipping costs will be passed to the clients,” he said.

Rase said the port plans to invest about $400,000 in infrastructure next year, including a new administrative building. They are also in the process of modernizing a transit ship and have recently added a loop track into the port to handle increased rail traffic expected to come with the opening of a new grain elevator.

Rase said the grain elevator is the first to be built in the Gulf of Mexico in about 50 years and is expected to move about a million tons of grain through the Port of Lake Charles.

He said the port is also opening a short-line railroad on July 1 to help move cargo.

Rase he said he understands why residents may feel the announced industrial projects are slow to come to fruition.

“I think what happens is the hype has outrun these projects,” Rase said.

He predicts that by 2017, there will be enough of a population increase in Southwest Louisiana “that you’ll definitely know you’re in a boom.”

He said the term “boom” adequately describe Southwest Louisiana’s good fortune.

“It’s actually a good word. It’s going to be a plus for this area without any destruction of physical property,” he said. “It’s important that the people recognize the boom will bring high-paying, good solid jobs and that something most areas can’t really claim right now.”

Something he said will also be necessary during the industrial development is worker villages.

“Where they happen will either be here or Texas. Most people say, ‘Well, gee, I’d rather they go to Texas.’ Well, if they go to Texas they’re going to take their money with them,” he said. “They’re going to take their tax revenue, they’re going to take the infrastructure that could be put in place here.

“They have to be in the right place, but they are going to serve a purpose,” he said. “You can’t put 20,000 people in here and build enough hotels and RV parks and condominiums to take care of them because when those 20,000 leave you’re going to have to take care of what’s left behind.

“These villages can come in, can serve their purpose and they can leave,” he said. “Is everybody going to be a good guy? No. But the majority of them will be because they have to keep their jobs.”

He said Pelican Lodge, a worker village set to house 4,000 people, will be built on port property on La. 397 and should be in operation by this time next year. The facility will provide housing, catering/facility management and transportation of workers to and from the various worksites.

Rase said the expected boom may be centered in Calcasieu Parish, but the effect will stretch through all of Southwest Louisiana.

“The port is the region’s largest economic driver,” Rase said. “This whole community has a large interest in what’s going to go on over the next five to 10 years in the development of the community and the port is going to be a big part of that.”

The Port of Lake Charles and the Calcasieu Ship Channel: Our Connection to a Global Economy

Posted on: July 27th, 2015

As with many products and comforts consumers take for granted every day, the significance of the Port of Lake Charles and the Calcasieu Ship Channel typically goes unnoticed by the average Southwest Louisiana resident.

The economic boom taking hold of the region would not be trending so feverishly on our newsfeeds or printed so widely in our newspapers if it weren’t for the gravitational grip of Port of Lake Charles and the Calcasieu Ship Channel as the conduit for the nation’s energy needs.

Bringing jobs and business to Southwest Louisiana rests at the core of the Port’s mission, and dozens of facilities, both current tenants and expanding facilities, provide substantial economic growth for the region and nation. Companies such as Magnolia LNG, Citgo, IFG Holdings, Sasol, Cameron LNG/Sempra Energy, Trunkline LNG, G2X Energy, Golden Nugget Casino Resort, Greenfield Logistical Solutions, L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles, and many more, supply the region with high-demand jobs, far-reaching visibility for the area, and dollars for the economy.

“The eyes of industry leaders are fixed on Southwest Louisiana, and many of the proposed facilities, as well as companies that have been here for years, rely heavily on channel access,” said Bill Rase, Executive Director of the Port. “Simply put, without the Calcasieu Ship Channel, our region’s economy would not be the talk of the nation.”

The Port is currently ranked as the 13th-largest seaport in the nation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, based on cargo tonnage. But with the expanding operations of existing terminals as well as the addition of proposed facilities, the Port is poised to leap to the top ten.

Over 54 million tons of cargo, such as petroleum and petroleum products, aluminum ingots, and rice are transported via the Calcasieu Ship Channel each year, and 7.5 percent of the nation’s daily fuel consumptions come from refineries along the channel. The next ten years of industry expansion will further define the Port as a leading facilitator of Southwest Louisiana’s economic growth and the nation’s energy boom.

“As our region grows, the Port and ship channel must match this growth. We actively work with industry leaders and regional stakeholders to make sure marine transport is as efficient and safe as possible for those businesses that will depend on it,” said Rase.

Beyond leasing channelside properties for development and taking part in negotiations with potential industrial facilities, the Port serves on behalf of the State of Louisiana as the local sponsor for the channel, which has been the avenue for industry growth for decades.

 

A Gravitational Pull for Industry and Growth

With the discovery of major natural gas resources in the U.S., a massive surge of industrial projects rose to engage in natural gas liquefaction and exportation, and an efficient pipeline infrastructure in the region that would deliver natural gas sweetened the deal.

“Because of the massive influx of investment coming to the region, the Port and the ship channel are seen as the gateways to the region’s thriving energy corridor,” said Rase. “We have always facilitated economic growth, but now it’s on an even bigger scale.”

The Port owns and operates two marine terminals—the City Docks and Bulk Terminal No. 1—as well as two industrial parks, and Port properties encompass over 200 square miles of prime real estate scattered along the ship channel.

The Port’s positive growth has become a recurring trend year after year, and with more development taking place with proposed facilities, the Port keeps its sight on reinforcing its core services while expanding on-site projects that can benefit tenant companies and ship channel users.

Between 2015 and 2019, the Port’s leadership anticipates investing approximately $190 million in capital improvements with $46.6 million in capital spending occurring in 2015 alone.

The Port will give a nod to its past by rebuilding the historic Wharf and Transit Shed No. 1, the original dock of the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District built in the 1920s. The rebuilt wharf and storage facility will meet current standards for bigger, heavier cargo, while serving as a reminder of the maritime industry’s rich history in Southwest Louisiana.

New projects for 2015 include construction of an administrative building and new land acquisitions that will expand the Port’s impact further than ever.

 

Channel Traffic Study: Looking Ahead

Last year’s Regional Impact Study, which was released by the Growth Opportunity (GO) Group and detailed recommendations for smart growth in the region, stated that shipping capacity and channel traffic should expect to steadily increase during the economic boom.

Last year Port of Lake Charles officials released a study by an independent international consulting firm analyzing current and future ship channel vessel traffic.

Deep-draft ship traffic is projected to double over the next ten years, growing from 1,022 to over 2,183 vessels in 2023. The 20-year horizon of the study forecasts 2,249 deep-draft vessels annually in 2033.

After evaluation of the channel’s existing infrastructure and operations, the traffic study found that the channel has the capacity to handle the forecasted traffic increase provided it was properly dredged.

“We can double our ship traffic without a problem, as long as the federal government meets its responsibility to properly maintain the channel,” said Channing Hayden, Director of Navigation and Security for the Port. “So far Congress and the Administration have fallen far short of doing so.”

 

Dredging the Channel = Economic Success

Multi-billion dollar industrial facilities along the ship channel will count on having a reliable waterway to transport their goods, and the ship channel must be dredged yearly to ensure that it meets the 400-foot-wide and 40-foot-deep federally mandated requirements.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees maintenance for the Calcasieu Ship Channel, added $16 million from discretionary funds provided by Congress to its FY2015 spending plan for the channel’s continued operation and maintenance. The discretionary spending was in addition to the $11.7 million for the channel in the FY15 budget passed by Congress.

The total $27.7 million in FY15 was a slight increase from FY14’s total budget and discretionary allocation of $26.24 million, but far short of the $30 million to $40 million needed annually to properly dredge the channel.

The Corps of Engineers dredges the channel to keep it open to deep-draft ships, and the sediment removed is used as much as possible to restore and nourish nearby wetlands.

“Dredging does two things: it maintains the economy of Southwest Louisiana and the nation and helps the environment by rebuilding our area’s wetlands,” said Hayden.

 

Preserving the Past and Celebrating the Future

The maritime industry has always been an integral component of Southwest Louisiana’s history and culture. An efficient waterway that would connect Lake Charles to the Gulf of Mexico would also connect it to a wider, global economy. Lumber and agriculture controlled commerce in the region in the early 19th century, and with it came a demand for easy access to resources across Calcasieu Parish.

The Intracoastal Canal connecting the Calcasieu and Sabine rivers was completed in 1915, and business leaders saw this as an opportunity to open Calcasieu Parish for maritime business. Under provisions of the 1921 state constitution, parish police juries were authorized to fund and initiate public works projects, and by act of the legislature that year, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury called a bond election to dredge Calcasieu River and Lake. Voters approved $2.75 million to dredge the river to a 30-foot depth and a bottom width of 125 feet.

In 1924, the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District was authorized by Louisiana Legislature, and with it came the authority to call bond elections, to raise funds for the construction, operation, and maintenance of port facilities, and to establish a Board of Commissioners appointed by the governor. On April 2, 1926, the S.S. Sewalls Point was the first oceangoing vessel to bring cargo to the newly authorized port.

An even wider and deeper channel was in demand as local industry continued to boom, and Congress appropriated $9.2 million for channel dredging and construction of the Calcasieu jetties in 1938. As a result, the Calcasieu Ship Channel was dredged from Lake Charles to the Gulf of Mexico 34 miles south, and the channel reached a depth of 33 feet and a width of 250 feet. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the channel was expanded to 40-foot-deep and 400-foot-wide, the current federal mandate.

Just as it did at the turn of the 20th century, industry is booming again, and the demand for efficient access to the Gulf remains strong. The Port of Lake Charles keeps a weathered eye on the horizon to stay ahead of future trends and maritime needs.

The channel is the region’s life-giving pulse as well as our connection to an expansive worldwide economy, and the Port acts as our ambassador on the global stage.