Chinese interested in local deep water port
St. Mary Parish President Paul Naquin said delegates from China will be in the parish this month to tour a site where they are interested in building a deep water port.
Naquin told the West St. Mary Port Commission Tuesday that the visitors will then present it to their associates for consideration, to be followed by an extensive study.
Naquin and parish Economic Development Director Frank Fink traveled to China recently to explore the possibility of the port’s construction. They met with representatives of the China development.
Such a port would link the U.S. with trade corridors in Asia and the Panama Canal while providing fabrication jobs locally, he said.
Naquin said there are many, many hurdles to jump, but the site would be some 15 miles off the coast from Bayou Sale, and would be accessed by both rail and a four-lane bridge extending from La. 317.
“It’ll be a big plus for St. Mary and the surrounding parishes,” Naquin said. “They’re looking for the first phase to hire 2,000 to 5,000 people.”
The site, estimated to be some 2,000 acres, would either be constructed with spoil from dredging a channel from shore to the proposed location or on a platform.
If constructed, the port would be a hub for container shipments globally, Naquin said. It would sit in about 70 feet of water.
“If they don’t build in the United States, they’ll build in Jamaica,” he added.
In other business Tuesday, port Executive Director David Allain and engineer Reid Miller said plans are being made for improvements to the industrial park development on the Charenton Navigation and Drainage Canal.
Miller said plans include dredging the slip, building up nearby land, permitting roadways and building a bulkhead.
Naquin mentioned that there have been two inquiries recently about industrial acreage for which the park would be ideally suited.
In other business, the commission approved up to $5,000 in costs for renovations to the front administrative area of the port building.