St. Bernard Port 2021 Year In Review

Photo by Duey Entrekin.

St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District is reporting another successful year with record tonnage despite the economy still being affected by covid-19, Executive Director Drew Heaphy said.

The Port – which encompasses the Arabi, Chalmette, and Violet Terminals/Industrial Parks as well as the Meraux and Chalmette Mid-Stream Mooring Facilities – recently broke its previous overall tonnage record by almost a 4% increase in 2021.

In its 2021 annual activity report, Heaphy said, the Port showed an overall tonnage of 10.6 million tons, up from 10.2 million in 2012, the last time the overall production rate hit its highest mark.  

The increase has Heaphy pleased, especially during such a trying economic time.

“We are happy to report we saw growth despite dealing with all that has accompanied the covid-19 pandemic over the last few years,” he said.

Heaphy cites the Port’s long-time partnership with its main Marine Terminal Operator (MTO) Associated Terminals as a major proponent of their continued success.

“Our relationship with Associated Terminals as our terminal operator has enabled us to efficiently and expeditiously shift cargo to different terminals as needed,” Heaphy said, “allowing us to consistently handle upwards of 10 million tons of cargo per year over the past several years.”

Zeljko S. Franks II, Senior Vice President of Operations at Associated Terminals, echoes Heaphy’s sentiment.

“One of the fundamental aspects of our success at Associated Terminals is the 20-year partnership we enjoy with the Port of St. Bernard,” Franks said. “Over the years, the Port has augmented and enhanced their facilities to enable us to attract additional tonnage, which has led to the growth of both our organizations, as well as the record successes enjoyed this past year.”

Franks said Associated Terminal’s business ventures with the Port have not only been beneficial for both entities, but for the parish as well.

“Over the years our relationship has had a positive economic impact in the community which includes the rapid expansion of our workforce, with many of those jobs filled by residents from St. Bernard,” he said.

Franks, who has been with Associated Terminals for 20 years and has served in his current role for the past nine, said the company offers a wide range of berthing options and cargo handling solutions for bulk, break-bulk, and project cargo, including truck and rail loading and unloading, warehousing and storage, bagging capabilities and screening/processing services.

According to Heaphy, the cargo that comes through Associated Terminals to the Port typically moves as far west as Houston, and as far north as places like St. Louis, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. They’ve seen steady increases in 2021 in both the number of vessel berths and total cargo tonnage.

“The past year’s figures indicate a significant growth in activity,” Heaphy said. “We had 408 vessel calls and had an overall 30% increase in tonnages compared to 2020.”

Heaphy said the Port’s continued partnership with Associated Terminals is vital to the longevity and future growth of the Port. “The Port and Associated are committed to continuing to be major economic engines for St. Bernard Parish,” he said.