Gateway at a Glance: Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf Coast enjoys a central location, with excellent water access to Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia via the Panama Canal. The Mississippi River, which enters the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans, grants access to a vast segment of U.S. hinterland.
Petroleum products, agricultural products and chemicals dominate the region’s waterborne trade. The U.S. imports over 60 percent of the oil it consumes and roughly half of all imported oil enters the U.S. through one of the Gulf ports.
Gulf ports handle a meager seven percent of U.S. containerized imports and exports. The region’s top seven container ports (Houston, New Orleans, Gulfport, Mobile, Freeport, Panama City and Tampa) account for 99 percent of the regional total, while the Port of Houston accounts for nearly 70 percent of the region’s container trade.
Container ports in the region are looking to expand market share. The Gulf’s top seven ports (except Panama City) are making investments in container infrastructure in the hope an expanded Panama Canal and shifting distribution patterns will allow them to capture a larger piece of the national pie by attracting all water services from Asia.
Port of Houston Texas
Bayport Container Terminal opened in 2007 at a cost of $1.4 billion. When the three-phase project is fully developed, it will triple the port’s overall container-handling capacity. The completed terminal will have seven container berths, 376 acres of container yard space, and a 123-acre intermodal facility capable of handling 2.3 million containers annually.
Port of Corpus Christi Texas
Traditionally, Corpus Christi’s dominant cargos have been petroleum and petrochemical products. In recent years the port has sought to diversify its operations. In 2000, the port completed a 100,000 SF on-dock, cold-storage warehouse and a multi-use cruise and conference center.
Today the port is focusing on the La Quinta Trade Gateway project, a 1,100-acre site that boasts 3,800 feet of shoreline. The site will eventually accommodate a new container terminal. Permits for the ship canal extension and terminal construction have already been obtained from the Army Corps of Engineers. The new terminal will offer 39-foot channel depth and 5,000 SF of on-dock rail. La Quinta will also provide unrestricted access to major interstate highways and Union Pacific’s rail network.
Port of Mobile Alabama
The Mobile container terminal opened in September 2008. The Alabama State Port Authority and Mobile Container Terminal LLC jointly invested $300 million in the new terminal, expanding capacity to 800,000 TEUs in the initial two phases of build-out. Mobile Container Terminal LLC is a joint venture between APM Terminals North American, a subsidiary of Maresk Inc., and Terminal Link, a division of CMA CGM.
Port of Tampa Florida
The Port of Tampa is Florida’s largest port in terms of tonnage. Containers are the fastest- growing component of the port’s business. The Hooker’s Point Container Terminal opened in 2005. In its current configuration, the terminal can handle 200,000 containers, however, with room to grow, the facility could potentially handle as many as 700,000 containers annually.
Port of New Orleans Louisiana
The port of New Orleans is the only U.S. port served by six class-one railroads: BNSF, CN, CSX, KCS, NS and UP. In 2004, the port completed the Napoleon Container Terminal at a cost of $100 million. The 61-acre terminal boasts an annual capacity of 350,000 TEUs. Now the port plans to invest an additional $500 million on a two-phase expansion of the Napoleon Terminal, bringing total capacity to 1.3 million containers a year.
Port of Gulfport Mississippi
Liner service to and from the port is concentrated primarily in the Central America trade lanes. Currently, Dole Ocean Liner Express, Chiquita’s Great White Fleet and Crowley provide liner services at the port. All berths at the Port of Gulfport are multi-use and multi-purpose. After being devastated by Hurricane Katrina, the port is rebuilding and looking to capitalize on opportunities presented by an expanded Panama Canal. Gulfport has a request in to the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge its channel to 42 feet from a current depth of 36 feet.
Port of South Louisiana
The Port of South Louisiana stretches 54 miles along the Mississippi River. More than 4,000 oceangoing vessels and 55,000 barges call at the port each year. The port handled nearly 234 million short tons of cargo in 2008, dominated by crude oil (22 percent), maize (18 percent), petrochemicals (17 percent) and soybeans (11 percent). The latest edition to the port’s cargo handling portfolio is the 335-acre Globalplex Intermodal Terminal, operated by Associated Terminals and Kinder-Morgan, which provides handling and storage for bulk, breakbulk, and containerized cargos.
The Mississippi River provides unparalleled access to the U.S. heartland. It is the planet’s number two cargo-bearing river, behind China’s Yangtze (1.2 billion tons) and ahead of Europe’s Rhine (250 million tons), moving approximately 500 million tons of cargo each year.
The Mississippi and its tributaries are vital arteries to trade; in total, they afford 14,500 miles of inland water over which goods can be moved efficiently and safely. To facilitate goods movement up and down the Mississippi, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains a 9-foot shipping channel from Baton Rouge, LA to Minneapolis. South of Baton Rouge, the Corps maintains a 45-foot channel to the Gulf of Mexico.
The U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of agricultural products; the Mississippi basin produces 92 percent of the nation’s agricultural exports and 78 percent of the world’s exported feed grains and soybeans. Sixty percent of all grain exported from the U.S. is shipped via the Mississippi through the Ports of New Orleans and South Louisiana.
The Deepwater Port Act of 1974 (DWPA) established a licensing system for ownership, construction, operation and decommissioning of deepwater port structures located beyond the U.S. territorial sea (12 nm). In response to both the nation’s growing energy and security needs, Congress amended the DWPA, passing the Marine Transportation Security Act of 2002, which accelerated the deepwater port licensing process in order to promote the importation of energy resources, including oil and natural gas, utilizing offshore receiving facilities, or deepwater ports.
Currently there are three deepwater ports operating nationwide; two of these are located in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. Nine additional applications to construct deepwater ports in the Gulf region have been filed with the Maritime Administration, more than the Pacific and Atlantic regions combined. Seven of these applications have been cancelled or deferred by the developing entities; two remaining applications are pending approval.
Operational deepwater ports Gulf Region
Louisiana Offshore Oil Port LOOP
The LOOP has been operational since 1981. It was designed to handle ultra-large oil tankers up to 750,000 tons. The facility is located 16 miles southeast of Port La Fourchon, Louisiana. The LOOP handles 1.2 million barrels of imported oil per day, or approximately 13 percent of U.S. oil imports.
Gulf Gateway Energy Bridge GGEB
Construction of the Gulf Gateway Energy Bridge was completed in February 2005. Located south of New Orleans, it is the world’s first offshore LNG-receiving terminal. It allows for importation of LNG utilizing specialized vessels with re-gasification capabilities on board. The GGEB has a base-load capacity of 500 MMcfd and a peak load capacity of 690 MMcfd.
Deepwater ports pending MARAD approval Gulf Region
Texas Offshore Port System TOPS
A new offshore oil port has been proposed at a site 36 miles south of Freeport, Texas. The proposed project has an estimated price tag of $2 billion and was to be funded in equal parts by partners Enterprise Products, TEPPCO and Oiltanking Holdings Americas. As of late April, two of three partners Enterprise Products and TEPPCO had announced they were bowing out of the partnership. The catalyst for the project is refinery expansion taking place along the upper Texas Gulf. TOPS could be operational by late 2010, pending regulatory approvals and permits, with capacity to handle 1.8 million barrels per day, roughly 18 percent of the current U.S. import load.
Port Dolphin Energy LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoegh LNG, filed an application with the Maritime Administration to construct a deepwater LNG-receiving facility approximately 28 miles off the coast of Tampa Bay, Florida. The Maritime Administration and U.S. Coast Guard are currently reviewing the applicant’s amended pipeline route and considering potential impacts. Pending approval, the port could become operational by 2011 with a base-load capacity of 800 MMcfd and peak-load capacity of 1200 MMcfd.
In 2005, the Gulf Coast was battered by perhaps the worst hurricane season on record. The now- infamous storms, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, both made landfall along the Gulf coast, disrupting the flow of commodities throughout the region and causing severe damage to some of the region’s transportation infrastructure. While much of the damage has been repaired, meteorologists at the U.S. National Hurricane Research Center report that raising air and water temperatures in the equatorial Atlantic associated with climate change are likely to increase both the frequency and intensity of hurricanes in the region.
In This Issue
News, Trends & Analysis
Don’t Get Carried Away
So, how much is this worth, anyway?
Service Providers and Trade Compliance Freight Forwarders need apply!
Five things you should know about auto and logistics software
Distorted Web Sites
Supply Chain product review
Security Software Solutions
Gateway at a Glance Gulf Coast
Supply Security Investments: A Balancing Act
Ports & infrastructure
Major retailer to Southern Cal ports: Requirements are many, costs are high
Port Product Review
Security Issues Impacting the Supply Chain
Who, What, Where, When