A new intermodal container terminal on the lower Mississippi River is being developed "from the ground up" that will accommodate both the largest Post-Panamax containerships and innovative new design LNG-fueled river container vessels intended to revolutionize the inland marine transportation of containers.
The terminal is being developed under an agreement between Plaquemines Port Harbor & Terminal District (PPHTD) and American Patriot Holdings LLC (APH), the parent company of American Patriot Container Transport LLC.
The new 4,200-acre port will include a recently announced $8.5 billion Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) reliquefaction facility, a break bulk terminal and a 1,000-acre container terminal that will be able to safely dock vessels up to 20,000 TEU, simultaneously accommodating multiple ocean and new design river container vessels.
Entering into an "Exclusivity Agreement," PPHTD and APH plan to jointly develop the logistics system for vessel operations comprised of both deep-water docking at the Pointe Céleste Container Terminal and multiple upriver terminals, initially planned for the Memphis and St. Louis areas.
PPHTD's new container port, located between mile 50 and 55 on the Mississippi River, will be the southernmost full service port complex on the river, providing full intermodal service via river, rail, highway and air to and from the heartland of America.
"We're building a new, modern technology port from the ground up where berthing depths exceed 60 feet and with the capability to accommodate the larger Post-Panamax vessels coming through the widened and deepened Panama Canal," said Sandy Sanders, Executive Director of Plaquemines Port. "Containers imported to the Plaquemines Port would be transferred to APCT's revolutionary vessels for delivery to their upriver port destination. Export containers will be efficiently delivered from upriver ports to the Plaquemines Port for export on ocean carriers.
APH, in conjunction with its naval architect, Naviform Consulting & Research Ltd., developed the proprietary and patent-pending new river vessel design that features an Exoskeleton Vessel Hull Structure that maximizes container payload, and a patented bow design enabling the vessels to travel at 13 mph (about 11.3 knots) north and southbound with essentially no wake.
APH has exclusive rights for use of the design and an exclusive licensing agreement on the patents. APH believes the application of this technology will have worldwide appeal.
The LNG-fueled propulsion system consists of four diesel generators, driving four azimuthing Z-drive thrusters and two bow pumps, burning LNG, the "cleanest fuel" for propulsion. Together, the main propulsion thrusters and the bow pumps eliminate the need for docking/undocking assist tugs, The container vessel designs range from 592 ft to 952 ft in overall length, with corresponding deadweights of 9,489 to16,079 tons, and TEU capacities of 1,824 to 2,960 at a draft of 9 ft in fresh water.
APCT expects upriver round trips from the Pointe Céleste Terminal will take 7 days to Memphis and 11 days to St. Louis. The vessels will be outfitted with substantial electrical capacity for reefer cargoes.
PPHTD and APH recently completed a "pre-feasibility report" and determined the new logistic system offered a sufficient value proposition to attract customers. The business case is being presented to investors, terminal operators and other potential stakeholders to advance to the "bankable feasibility" stage.