The Louisiana Public Facilities Authority Board of Trustees gave preliminary approval Oct. 3 to Impala Warehousing LLC to formalize an agreement to finance its proposed $130m river terminal expansion in Burnside, La., with that expansion to handle commodities like coal.
Impala is a global logistics and warehousing compay that operates 35 warehousing sites in 19 countries worldwide. The company plans to utilize the LPFA revenue bond proceeds to expand its Burnside terminal, which it says will be the fourth such facility of its kind on the Mississippi River and the only one with both rail-to-vessel and barge-to-vessel capabilities.
Impala acquired Ormet’s Burnside terminal in June 2011 with the intention of creating a state-of-the-art major bulk terminal for coal, bauxite and alumina. Impala is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Trafigura. The Burnside facility was originally constructed in 1956 alongside an alumina refinery, but closed in January 2008. The alumina refinery alongside the bulk terminal was not included in the purchase.
Trafigura is one of the world’s leading international commodity traders, specializing in the supply and transport of crude oil, petroleum products, renewable energies, coal, refined metals, ferrous and non-ferrous ores and concentrates. It has an oil-trading office in Houston, Texas, and a metals and coal trading office in Stamford, Conn.
“Sometimes, financing is all that stands between a company locating in Louisiana and creating jobs here or taking its business elsewhere. That’s one of the reasons why the LPFA exists and it’s where we feel we can really make a difference for Louisiana’s long-term economic prosperity,” said Guy Campbell III, Chairman of the LPFA Board of Trustees, about the bond approval for Impala.
A Burnside project website said the terminal is currently in operation moving bauxite and alumina, with coal operations to begin in 2013.
The website said: “The U.S. currently faces significant constraints in supplying coal, with terminal facilities across the country already running at full capacity. The development of Burnside, as one of the country’s biggest terminals, will create new opportunities to establish flows of coal, both in and out of the country. The location of the terminal is perfect for Impala’s business: coal can be brought by barge from upriver or by train from across the U.S. The Mississippi River is a deep-water port allowing for ships up to about 45 feet draft to be brought to the terminal, enabling allowing Impala to handle a variety of bulk cargoes for import and export from the U.S. The ability to handle bauxite cargoes will also benefit Ormet’s newly reopened alumina plant.”
This is one of several projects ongoing in the Pacific Northwest, the Gulf Coast region and along the Atlantic seaboard to expand coal export terminals to meet rising coal demand, particularly from rapidly-growing economies around the Pacific Rim.