The St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District recently released its annual activity report for 2017.
The Port – which encompasses the Arabi, Chalmette and Violet Terminals/Industrial Parks as well as the Meraux and Chalmette Mid-Stream Mooring Facilities – reported an 8.5% increase in overall tonnage and an 8.3% increase in overall vessel traffic since 2016.
Drew Heaphy, the Port’s executive director, is especially pleased with the growth of the Port’s Violet Terminal since the start of cargo operations in 2015 and, more specifically, over the last 12-month period.
Heaphy said Violet has seen hefty increases in both the number of vessel berths and total cargo tonnage.
“The past year’s figures indicate a significant growth in activity at the Violet Terminal,” Heaphy said. “Violet took 70 vessel calls and had an overall 200% increase in tonnages compared to 2016.”
Heaphy said plans are being made for all berths located at the Violet Terminal to be dedicated to cargo handling for the remainder of 2018 and the foreseeable future. Increased cargo tonnage and demand have made this further expansion necessary. The expansion has been aided by the U.S. Navy’s decision to terminate its lease with the Port for the ships currently berthed at one of the Violet Terminal’s five deep-water berths and relocate those vessels to Norfolk, Virginia.
Heaphy said the departure of the Navy ships, expected to begin in late March 2018, will allow for the Port’s continued growth in 2018.
“Fully opening up Violet to general cargo use, as the Port has always planned, will allow us to accommodate the increased demand for cargo handling at the facility and greatly increase the Port’s ability to handle more cargo as a whole,” Heaphy said.