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St. Bernard Port

St. Bernard Port is located in the largest shipping corridor in the world, on the Mississippi River, just seven miles from the Port of New Orleans. It has been continually growing and adding to the economy. It increased from 400,000 net tons in 1999 to 10,200,000 tons in 2012, which was an improvement of 2400 percent. In total, the port provides an estimated $325 million yearly to the local economy.

The Mississippi River offers access in both directions including the Industrial Canal and Intracoastal Waterway providing access to the Gulf of Mexico. The most important imports and exports are steel, zinc, copper products, grain crops, barite, lumber, metallic ores, minerals, petroleum, and coal coke.

Port History

The New Orleans Terminal Company operated loading docks and warehouse facilities as early as 1907. This terminal is now called Arabi Terminal and offers the only deep, still-water draft slip available on the lower Mississippi River. The property was later purchased by Norfolk Southern Railway System and in 1993 was purchased by the port.

St Bernard Port was first created in 1960 and work began on development in 1981. Some acreage was purchased on Bayou Bienvenue where the first marine operations opened. In 1989, additional land was acquired that became what is currently called Chalmette Terminal. A landing barge was constructed for those who arrive at the harbor by paddle wheel boat to visit nearby Chalmette Battlefield.

Since then the area has grown and expanded considerably. However, it was damaged considerably by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The following year $8 million was invested to rebuild the damaged infrastructure to return the area to working order. A 1.8 million square foot building, one-acre transit shed and other new facilities were added.


The port consists of a large variety of facilities. Four main terminals include Arabi Terminal and slips, Chalmette Terminal and Intermodal Facility, Meraux midstream Buoys, and Violet Terminal and Docks. Arabi Terminal is a 40,000-square foot storage warehouse with multiple ship berths, and transit sheds and general warehousing of about 200,000 additional sq. ft. A 216-acre industrial park, Chalmette has a landing barge for tourists and a deep draft mooring and barge facility.

The Violet site was acquired in 2012. The acreage included 4300 ft. directly on the river and was recently updated. The new accommodations are larger and more efficient than the original ones and are able to provide more features. The terminals are conveniently located near highways including Interstate 510, I-10 and I-610. Additionally, the terminal has access to the Norfolk Southern Railroad.

The port has had accidents and spills over the years. In 2008, a barge crashed into a bridge pier spilling more than 420,000 gallons of industrial fuel into the river. The company operating the barge did not have a properly licensed crew on board at the time. Barge groundings occur from time to time. Working aboard a barge is a dangerous job. The barge company is required to provide safe working conditions.

When an employee is injured due to negligence on the part of the employer, they may be able to take legal action. If you were hurt in a maritime accident, we can help. Contact us by filling out the online form today.

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