Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission staff, local officials, and industry representatives gathered for the groundbreaking of the new Port Bienville Railroad Storage Yard on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at the McDonald Business Center in Bay Saint Louis. The Port Bienville Railroad Storage Yard represents one of the most substantial investments by HCPHC into the railroad in many years.
Guest speaker Bruce Lambert with Maritime Administration spoke on the 6-million-dollar project during the groundbreaking on Wednesday. The project is being funded by Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program and will expand the existing rail line with the addition of a rail sidetrack and storage yard track ladders, thereby increasing its capacity by 150 car spaces.
The Port Bienville Railroad Storage Yard expansion will extend capacity from 450 cars to 600 cars. The enhanced capacity of the rail lines will enable HCPHC to more effectively cater to current tenants and create prospects for future developments in regional transient storage.
The tracks and siding will involve 12,173 square feet of additional storage track and include 9 turnouts, 6,087 steel ties, and 9,739 tons of ballast. These additional spaces are expected to increase the HCPHC’s storage capacity by 25% so that it can safely manage the current storage operations and meet the current repressed storage demand. In addition to the immediate safety and demand benefits, the Port Bienville Railroad Storage Yard project will allow Port Bienville plants to increase production and give the HCPHC the ability to market the increased rail capacity to rail companies
looking for opportunities in the region, including the New Orleans Public Beltway, the Port of New Orleans, and CSX. The increased access and usage is expected to remove some of the shipping truck traffic currently involved in these connections, making these interstate and highway corridors safer.
Neel-Schaffer, Inc. is overseeing the engineering of the railroad storage yard, situated alongside the existing Alpek Polyester lead. The project is being constructed by Continental Rails Inc. The Port Bienville Railroad Storage Yard construction is underway and is anticipated to conclude by early fall 2024.
Hancock County Port & Harbor Executive Director/CEO Blaine LaFontaine remarks on the new milestone,” The Port Bienville Railroad Storage Yard project represents a new milestone in Port Bienville and Hancock County as the largest investment in our railroad in over two decades. The project increases our capacity allowing us to better serve our tenant demand, improve safety and efficiency for our employees and provide opportunities for transient storage regionally.”
The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission was established in 1963 to lead the county’s economic development activities. Stennis International Airport and Port Bienville Industrial Park are home to 30 companies with more than 1,000 employees. For more information visit www.portairspace.com.