Plaquemines Port Harbor and Terminal District is continuing its goal of establishing relationships with sister ports along the Mississippi River recently executing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Jefferson County Port Authority, located just south of St. Louis, MO.
A contingent from Jefferson County Port, including Chairman Derrick Good and Executive Director Neal Breitweiser, traveled to Plaquemines Parish for a full briefing on port plans and visited port sites in the Plaquemines Port jurisdiction. The signing of the memorandum took place at a luncheon hosted by the World Trade Center in New Orleans with Plaquemines Port Chairman Charlie Burt and APH principles Joe Gehagen and Sal Latrico on hand for the signing.
Plaquemines Port Executive Director Sandy Sanders said the visit was a great success. “The relationships we are building with ports like Jefferson County near St. Louis and Shelby County in Memphis are the first steps in creating a transportation network between Plaquemines Port and upper ports along the Mississippi River. We plan to move thousands of containers from our port to theirs utilizing the American Patriot Holdings’ (APH) unique container transport vessels.”
Last year Plaquemines Port and APH executed an exclusive agreement to provide container service from a future terminal in Plaquemines to destinations as far north as Chicago. The unique APH vessels are patented and will carry up to 3,000 containers at speeds of 14 miles per hour with nearly no wake making rounds trips possible to Memphis in 7 days and St. Louis is 11 days. “The Plaquemines to St. Louis route will be a bedrock service APH intends to implement throughout the Mississippi River Basin,” said Latrico. The APH vessels recently completed model testing in Germany and final engineering and design is underway.
“There are a wide variety of opportunities we are exploring which include utilizing the vessels and port facilities for agricultural products. Ideally goods and products could be shipped up river and agricultural products could be shipped down river,” Sanders said.
Currently most of the containers heading to the Midwest are moving by rail from California. The widened new lane of the Panama Canal has transportation experts looking at less costly options which include Gulf of Mexico and East coast ports. “The timing is right for us to market this new option which will move large numbers of containers via the Mississippi River, our nation’s greatest river highway,” Sanders said.
The MOUs being signed allow the ports to share marketing activities and to exchange data and marketing studies relative to developing port opportunities for a period of five years.