Port of LC seeks reimbursement for hurricane repairs

Published 8:21 pm Monday, October 25, 2021

Port of Lake Charles board members agreed Monday to allow Executive Director Richert Self to enter into an agreement with the state so the port can be reimbursed $14 million in hurricane recovery projects.

During the recent state legislative session, the Legislature created the Southwest Louisiana Recovery Fund, which is part of the American Rescue Plan Congress approved to counteract economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of the $30 million in the recovery fund, $14 million was appropriated to the port for costs associated with rebuilding from Hurricanes Laura and Delta.

In order for the port to be reimbursed, state law requires the port to enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Louisiana Department of the Treasury, Self said.

The port is looking at spending this federal money on several projects. One is tension fabric buildings that will provide much-needed covered storage at City Docks, Self said. He said the port lost an enormous amount of covered storage after last year’s hurricanes.

Another project includes a traveling import hopper that will make it easier to handle cargo. Self said the port lost two ship loaders and two unloaders at Bulk Terminal 1 after Hurricane Laura.

“It’s not the unloader that we had, but it’s the next best thing,” he said of the traveling import hopper. “It will be a much better operation than what we had immediately after the storm.”

Self said the port is looking at additional laydown yard areas to handle project cargo for when the tension fabric buildings are built.

The port is also looking to build a warehouse at the industrial canal and a building at industrial park east.

The port will also seek reimbursement for the testing of pilings at berths 4, 5 and 6, Self said. He said the project will have a Construction Management at Risk agreement, where the engineer and contractor will work on the front end to determine how many pilings are needed, along with the length of pilings. A guaranteed max price will be submitted to the port board for review.

Most of the projects the port is seeking reimbursement for are in the design stages, Self said.

Self thanked state Sens. Mark Abraham, R-Lake Charles, and Ronnie Johns, R-Sulphur, for working with the port to secure money from the Southwest Louisiana Recovery Fund.

“We’re blessed to have them working with the legislative delegation and House and Senate leadership,” he said. “They recognized the many needs in Southwest Louisiana with the slow pace of recovery. We’re just very grateful.”