Port of Lake Charles going into bond market

By By Lance Traweek / American Press

Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District board members on Monday approved two submissions that will get the port into the

bond market as it prepares to finance $100 million in revenue bonds for several construction projects.

Last week, the state Bond Commission

gave the green light for the port to issue revenue bonds in one or more

series not exceeding

30 years.

The agency that will be handling the $100 million bond issue was present at Monday’s port meeting. The port itself is issuing

the bonds and their underwriter is Jefferies. The underwriter will market the bonds.

“This is one of the first steps we need to take,” Fred Chevalier, bond counsel for the port, told board members.

The initial item was a general bond resolution, while the second submission was a supplemental item that provided more details.

Shaun Toups, financial counsel for the port for the bond issue, said while he can’t predict the exact rate, market conditions

convey a 5 percent interest rate range.

“We won’t know until we get out in the market,” Toups told board members.

Under an aggressive timeline, Toups hopes to price bonds by the end of November.

The first series, probably $50 million, will be issued in early December. It will encompass a $17 million rehabilitation to

“Shed 1,” which was the first dock and transit shed constructed at the port in the late 1920s and early ‘30s.

The date for the second bond issue, which is contingent on investments at the port, has not been set yet, said Richert Self,

director of administration and finance for the port.

Another project is the ongoing

remodeling of the old administrative offices — about $4 million — for

the federal government

to locate a regional Customs, Immigration and Homeland Security

office that will oversee several states. The port has entered

into a long-term lease with the federal government to lease the

building near the end of Shell Beach Drive.

The port is also leasing office space until they build a new office building to be funded through the bonds.

The other major projects are two additional docks at Bulk Terminal No. 1, which is located on the west side of the river between

Citgo and the Interstate 210 bridge.

Michael Dees, port director, has said the bonds are being paid off through operational profits.