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Natchitoches Parish Port

With a slogan like “You Can Get There from Here,” Natchitoches Parish Port offers effortless waterway access to the Mississippi River. Two land transportation options are available alongside river sailing, increasing the convenience of cargo movement from one part of the country to another.

Overview and History of Natchitoches

Rail, river, and highway transportation options make this harbor highly convenient. As a result, the overall annual tonnage (data for 2015) was 78,000 tons for barges and 423,000 tons via rail and trucks. The official port website suggests that the total tonnage to have gone through the facility has reached 540,000 tons on an annual basis (120,000 tons of barge tonnage).

Over the same year, the port generated 485,000 dollars in gross revenue. Most of the funds have come through cargo transportation. A few of the most prominent cargo types include aggregate, coal, forest production and frac sand for inbound, as well as activated carbon and forest products for outbound.


As already mentioned, this is a multi-modal port. As far as facilities go, there are a few additional essentials worth mentioning.

Natchitoches Parish Port has a 62,000 square feet warehouse that is positioned right next to the 12,000 square feet concrete dock. A general cargo dock, a wood chip barge loading facility, barge loading dock, a conveyor, truck dump, radial stacker and a concrete storage pad complete the picture.

Several other facilities at the disposal of port customers include the following:

  • 26,000 feet of rail spur and sidings
  • A Louisiana Department of Economic Development-certified greenfield site
  • A rail to truck transloading area
  • Over 400 acres of land currently available for additional development
  • A capacity to stage anywhere between 20 and 30 barges

There is one main navigational channel, its depth being nine feet. The channel is 200-feet wide, and it is maintained by the Corps of Engineers.

All of the activities, the maintenance of the port and its supervision fall under the Natchitoches Port Commission. The commission was established in 1975 during a regular session of the Louisiana Legislature. Its primary purpose was to regulate the commerce and traffic within the area of the harbor. It is governed by five commissioners who have a six-year term.

Sailing Dangers

Cargo transportation via a river channel is incredibly convenient, but it comes with certain risks for sailors, other crew members and even port employees responsible for maintenance and servicing the vessels.

Over the years, there have been multiple reports about Mississippi River accidents that have caused either death or injuries.

The situation becomes particularly dangerous when river levels go up. In March 2016, a barge crashed into a Natchitoches Parish bridge. According to a Coast Guard investigation, the high river levels were a contributing factor.

As a result of the accident, the bridge had to remain closed for a certain period due to lane damage. Luckily, none of the barge crew members sustained injuries.

This isn’t an isolated accident. Multiple reports of injuries and deaths on the Mississippi River have been reported through the years.

Are you a sailor who has sustained injuries or who’s concerned about the safety of employer practices? If so, you shouldn’t hesitate about contacting a legal team. We have the knowledge, and we’re ready to help you. Please fill out our contact form to let us know a bit more about your situation.

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