The Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) will receive $73.77 million from the federal government to assist in building the Louisiana International Terminal (LIT) project. 

Port NOLA said LIT will provide an efficient gateway for the movement of cargo on the Mississippi River and the U.S. inland waterways.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has alerted Congress that it intends to award this funding through its MEGA Grant Program, which will support the first phase of the $1.8 billion project’s construction and is in addition to significant funding commitments from private industry partners and Port NOLA. This priority project for Louisiana garnered support from more than a dozen ports in six states and major trade and agriculture associations.

The new state-of-the-art container terminal in Violet, La., will eliminate air-draft restrictions that limit the size of vessels that can currently call at the Port of New Orleans. LIT will serve vessels of all sizes, dramatically increasing Louisiana’s import and export capacity while also fostering strategic inland growth.

“This is a great day for the Port of New Orleans and our state. The funding will not only benefit the port but also create numerous jobs and boost our communities,” said U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, R-La. “Because I had a seat at the table for the infrastructure law, Louisiana is punching above its weight in the amount of funding we are receiving. We are building an economy for 2050.”

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is bringing critical investments in our water systems, roads, bridges, and broadband. Louisiana continues to receive outsized benefits from this historic legislation which I championed,” said U.S. Rep. Troy Carter Sr., D-La. “With this grant, the Port of New Orleans will be able to modernize and grow its operations for this century and ensure that it continues to be the economic driver for the entire region.”

Port NOLA President and CEO Brandy D. Christian, said the grant award was a total team effort that will benefit Louisiana and the nation.

“On behalf of the entire team at the Port of New Orleans, I would like to thank (former) Governor John Bel Edwards, Louisiana’s federal delegation and the Biden administration for sharing our vision to build a new efficient gateway to serve the entire state of Louisiana and America’s Heartland,” Christian said in a statement. “With Louisiana’s unmatched inland connections and with no bridges in its way, the new Louisiana International Terminal will meet market demands for much-needed supply chain solutions and bring prosperity to our region for generations to come. This funding award builds on years of careful market analysis, planning, due diligence, and community outreach to ensure the project adequately addresses the market need and provides community benefits. We also look forward to working with the incoming state legislature and administration to deliver this critical project.”

The Louisiana International Terminal will be built through a historic public-private partnership between Port NOLA and two private terminal operators. New Jersey-based Ports America, one of North America’s largest marine terminal operators, and Geneva, Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Co., through its terminal development and investment arm Terminal Investment Ltd. (TiL), have committed $800 million toward the project.

Additionally, Louisiana lawmakers have already provided nearly $30 million toward early development costs for the LIT project, currently in the federal permitting and design process. The state also committed $50 million for the design of the St. Bernard Transportation Corridor that will connect the terminal to the interstate system, delivering a road that has been sought for years by St. Bernard Parish leaders and residents.

LIT is the biggest public economic development project in the state of Louisiana. It’s expected to generate 32,000 new jobs nationwide, 18,000 here in Louisiana and 4,300 in St. Bernard Parish, as well as more than $1 billion in total new state and local tax revenue by 2050, Port NOLA said.