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Louisiana – Introduction to Ports

Louisiana is home to three of the top ten U.S. ports as ranked by total trade. Port of South Louisiana ranks number one in the country with total trade of 238,585,604 tons. Port of New Orleans has a total of 77,159,081 and Port of Greater Baton Rouge has 63,875,439 tons. There are several others throughout the state that are important to the state’s economy including Plaquemines and Port of Lake Charles.

These three major ports cover about 172 miles along the Mississippi River. Water depths range from about 12 feet in shallow areas to 48 feet in the deepest. The ports are serviced by the river, channels, and canals. Together, they provide access for almost 70% of the country’s exported corn, soy, and wheat. Other important imports and exports include steel, rubber, and coffee along with agricultural products including fruits and vegetables.

Ports and Waterways

There are 30 ports or harbors located in Louisiana. Some are small. The most notable include:

  • Bridgeport
  • Bellevue
  • Burnside
  • Fourchon
  • Gramercy
  • Gretna
  • Iberia
  • Krotz Springs
  • Lake Charles
  • Morgan City
  • Ostrica
  • St. Bernard
  • Shreveport
  • Sulphur
  • Terrebonne

The Mississippi River is the largest in Louisiana and provides an important route for waterway traffic. There are many other rivers and streams located throughout the state. The major rivers allow for barge transportation both inland and towards the coast. The largest include Red, Little, Sabine, Atchafalaya, Calcasieu, and Mermentau.


The major ports located on the Gulf of Mexico are accessible by water, land, pipeline, rail, and air. Several main Interstates provide access across the country. I-10 extends across the entire United States. Interstate 55 goes to the north up to Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan. I-59 allows access to the eastern U.S. There are three railways including the Union Pacific, Canadian National and Kansas City Southern that allow shipments in every direction.

Six pipelines are located nearby including a super port with up to 500,000 barrels of crude oil daily. Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans is very close by.  This extensive accessibility has helped to grow Louisiana ports and economy.

Globalplex Intermodal Terminal

The Globalplex Intermodal Terminal is one of the largest of its type in the world. It has facilities for all types of vessels and barges including handling and storage of bulk, breakbulk and containerized cargoes. Located on the lower Mississippi, it caters to every possible transportation need. Some of the features include a ship loader capable of handling 1,200 tons an hour, swing crane, bulk commodities conveyor and Carlsen unloader.  The cement facility features dome storage and is the largest in the country. Storage and cargo docks are located all along the canal allowing for easy barge access.

The location and facilities in Louisiana make it ideal for water transportation. Working on the waterways, in terminals and on docks and vessels is a hazardous occupation. If you were seriously hurt in an accident in a Louisiana port or on a waterway, you could be protected by the Jones Act. Contact us today via the online form to discuss your case.

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