LNG shipments boost Port of Pascagoula cargo

Published: Oct. 24, 2011 at 9:56 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2011 at 2:07 AM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The addition of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal is providing a welcome boost to cargo numbers at the Port of Pascagoula. Third quarter results show total cargo tonnage was up nearly 30 percent over a year ago. Without the LNG shipments, overall tonnage would have been down by around nine percent.

Paper goods, lumber and chemicals are among the products shipped through the Port of Pascagoula. But the Liquefied Natural Gas is a welcome addition to that list of cargo.

The LNG project, ten years in the making, is now paying economic dividends.

"And the way that deal is structured, it's a significant source of not only tonnage, but revenue for the port authority," explained Port Director Mark McAndrews. "The marine facilities are publicly owned and we charge fees for their use."

The port director says a continued focus on north-south trades, including Central and South America is showing promise. One deal involves shipping steel from Argentina to Canada.

"There's a finishing plant up there. It's like gas transmission pipelines. The rough stock is manufactured in Argentina. It's finished in Canada and moves through Pascagoula, Mississippi."

Plans are underway to widen the entrance channel at Horn Island Pass and study another widening proposal.

"To determine the feasibility of widening the channel coming into Bayou Cassotte, to the LNG facility, Chevron and other deep draft users of the channel," said McAndrews.

While the Liquefied Natural Gas is providing a welcome boost in port business, on the export side, it's a far different story with frozen chickens. Cargo numbers show poultry shipments to Russia are down some 50 percent from just a few years ago.

McAndrews says shipments to other countries will help make-up the deficit, but won't be nearly enough.

"And we're working with our operator of the freezer facilities out there for alternate employment of the freezers," he said.

Along with the new LNG terminal, McAndrews says other port improvements are taking shape.

"We're developing other new facilities. Our south terminal facility continues to be developed. And we're aggressively upgrading our existing facilities to keep the benefits of world trade flowing through Jackson County."

A ribbon cutting at the new LNG terminal is set for Thursday.

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