Sept. 21, 2019

Protecting Southwest Louisiana’s valuable economic development engines is a must, especially considering how vulnerable the area is to hurricanes and other disasters.

Sulphur’s West Calcasieu Port has been a major asset during severe storms, helping Louisiana and Southeast Texas after Hurricane Harvey’s 2017 landfall. Darla Perry, the port’s certified public accountant, said the port acts as “a safe harbor for shallow-water marine vessels in extreme weather conditions.”

Thanks to a sizeable federal grant, the port will be even more protected in the future.

Federal officials announced on Thursday that the port will get a $4.2 million grant to strengthen it against natural disasters. It’s a much-needed shot in the arm for a port that has seen a sizable increase in revenue over the last two decades.

The grant will cover a variety of work at the port, such as a steel sheet pile bulkhead berth facility built along the Intracoastal Waterway’s north bank. Another facility will allow shallow draft barges to load and unload up to 40 tons of cargo. Other features include steel sheet piling and a concrete crane pad next to the bulkhead.

The grant will also be paired with $1.1 million in local investment. Four hundred new jobs are expected.

Existing tenants at the West Calcasieu Port are also likely to benefit from this project. Devall Enterprises has been a tenant with the port for nearly 50 years — a testament to the working relationship between the two.

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, with the project being funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The administration got an extra $600 million to assist with recovery efforts following several disasters in 2017, including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

Thanks go out to the Imperial Calcasieu Regional Planning and Development Commission and other local industries for securing the grant over nearly two years.