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Lake Charles prepares for boom

February 3 - The Port of Lake Charles has handled 220 components of a large Mammoet crane, which was shipped into the US gateway from Brazil on board BBC Chartering's heavy lift vessel BBC Fuji.

The crane, which weighed a total of 6,263 tonnes, was unloaded from the vessel using the ship's gear at the Port of Lake Charles' city docks. The crane was then transported to Mammoet's yard near Lake Charles for storage, in preparation for work on a number of energy-related projects.

"The crane - which is allegedly Mammoet's largest crane - was not being utilised in Brazil, so was sent to southwest Louisiana, where there are a number of industrial projects under contract and under construction," said Dan Loughney, director of marketing and trade development at the Port of Lake Charles.


220 pieces of the huge Mammoet crane were unloaded at the US port.


Loughney explained that since 2013 there have been a number of announced projects to be built in the Lake Charles area, which total over USD82 billion of investment, with around 20,000-25,000 construction personnel needed to cope with the influx of work.

"There really is quite a boom over here," noted Loughney, explaining that the area's prosperity is due to the large deposits of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the area and the number of plants that are being built to facilitate the extraction and export of the LNG.

The other reason that southwest Louisiana the ideal location for this type of industry is the fact that the pipeline infrastructure is in place and has been for a number of years, said Loughney.

"Companies are looking to produce LNG and other products to export; they are building ethylene crackers and methanol plants. There is a lot going on."

And the Port of Lake Charles, which is located on the Calcasieu Ship Channel, is looking to play an important role in the upcoming project developments. "A lot of project cargo - equipment and heavy modules - will need to be delivered from the port to sites up an down the channel," suggested Loughney.


Loughney: "A lot of project cargo - equipment and heavy modules - will need to be delivered from the port to sites up an down the channel."

Although there are a number of projects already underway in the region, many of the LNG-related plants have been on the table for a while but may still take between one and two years to get the go ahead, explained Loughney. This is because many are still waiting for permits from the various authorities, governments and regulatory agencies to export the liquefied gas.

But, "plants are already being built, land is being cleared, a number of companies are working with the state to bring projects into fruition," Loughney told HLPFI - all of which will increase the volumes of project cargo traversing the port.

The Port of Lake Charles is well situated for the booming LNG business, but it has also been investing in its facilities, claimed Loughney. The port's general cargo terminal has 12 deepwater berths and around 1.6 million sq ft of storage, as well as a short-line railroad.

However, the port itself has no high capacity cranes, but simply uses a small number of stevedoring companies that provide their own equipment for heavy lift operations. In most cases, many of the cargoes - larges units of plant equipment - will be unloaded using the ship's gear, said Loughney.

While some projects are on hold until permission is granted, a number have already begun, which means that Louisiana and the Port of Lake Charles looks likely to remain busy for the foreseeable future, despite sliding oil price and lack of oil industry projects.


The Port of Lake Charles.

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