Port of Lake Charles to participate in traffic study for Calcasieu Ship Channel

In preparation of the more than $40 billion of increased economic development on the Calcasieu Ship Channel, the Port of Lake Charles has hired a consulting firm to conduct a traffic study for the channel.

The study will estimate the increase in vessel traffic, the timing of the projected increase and the constraints limiting channel safety and efficiency.

The Port board of commissioners on Monday agreed to award the contract to Ausenco Consulting.

“The study is something that has been needed,” said Executive Director Bill Rase. “Many of the major industries may use this study.”

The study will cost $275,000 and will be funded by the port in conjunction with channel users. Approving the proposal resulted in about $150,000 of unbudgeted expense in 2013, but the remainder will be budgeted for 2014.

“Announced economic development plans will generate a significant increase in the number of vessels, both deep and shallow draft, using the Calcasieu Ship Channel,” reads the submission for approval. “More vessel traffic raises the question of the channel’s ability to support safe, efficient and economic operation of these vessels and the terminals they serve.”

Rase said the actual study was estimated to have cost close to $1 million but the Port will use a mathematical model already funded by British Gas that was used to estimate traffic on the channel for British Gas’s planning purposes.

The results of the study will be open to the public, and it will take about four months to complete.