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Port of Iberia eyes expansion

Posted: 6:09 PM, Mar 28, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-28 20:41:59-04

The Port of Iberia is expecting to get new jobs after dredging at the port is completed.

That dredging is expected to begin late next month.  The work is part of a larger expansion project at the port.
Last September the port bought 146 acres of property.  Officials will use 40 acres of that land to dig a new canal to improve access.

Right now the focus is on making an existing canal two feet deeper.
It’s a move they hope will attract new businesses and around 1,000 jobs to the port.

Port officials say they’ve lost bids from a number of energy and construction companies because the canals here aren’t deep enough.  That’s a problem they’ll soon fix.

Executive Director of Port of Iberia, Craig Romero said, “Every year the Port of Iberia has been successful in the legislative delegation and Iberia Parish, has been successful over the past ten years securing capital outlay money. Money the state of Louisiana gives for local needed projects.”

The Port of Iberia has been planning on dredging the canal for more than a decade.  Romero says making the canal deeper will help bring more projects to the port, projects they’re now losing to other ports… like Seattle and Houma.

Romero said, “Some of these fabricators are not giving the opportunity to even bid on the project because of the fear of the shallowness of the port.”

Companies already at the port like Dynamic Industries are excited for the dredging to begin.

Bryan Borque said, “Fortunately for dynamic, we have multiple facilities, that allow us to have those projects, but in order to keep the work here in New Iberia, it’s important that we get the dredge.”

In addition to keeping existing jobs at the port, Bourque and Romero say dredging will allow his company and others to hire even more workers.

Borque said, “The bigger projects would take more manpower, and would help the job industry in Iberia.”

Romero said, “The sky is the limit when it comes to fabrication. You just have to repurpose your yard. And go after more than just the Gulf of Mexico.”

The first step is to lower five pipelines. From there Romero says they will begin immediately.