Dredging contract approved to deepen Port of Iberia to 16ft

Iberia Parish

NEW IBERIA, La. — For 30 years the Port of Iberia has been working on dredging the Acadiana-Gulf of Mexico Access Channel, and now it is funded, contracted, and ready to begin.

To float your boat in New Iberia, Louisiana has invested $38M state dollars. $10M of which was just awarded on contract for the first seven miles of dredging from the Port of Iberia to the Intercoastal Canal.

Equipment is being moved now to start the work as soon as possible. Another seven miles of dredging from Intercoastal City to the Gulf is funded and expected for next year.

“The dredging is going to allow us to bring in bigger boats, attract other businesses that have bigger footprints in the Gulf of Mexico,” explained Executive Director of the Port Craig Romero.

He said the shallowest water in the port is currently close to eight feet deep, but after dredging it will all be 16 feet deep. The spoil dredged from the bottom of the port will be used in a nearby Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority project that needs it according to the director. Romero added doubling the depth could potentially double the port’s activity.

“Already companies are coming, doing things that they never did before to experiment with the water depth that we currently have just to see what they can project to do with the added water depth of 16 feet, so we’re excited,” Romero expressed.

International oil company Seadrill, who moved to the port this Summer, said the transition to a deeper draft port was a dealbreaker for their billion-dollar business.

“The water depth, we had to have it,” Seadrill Global Warehouse Manager, Lynn Usie, stated. “It didn’t pay for us to continue to use barges and tugs to be able to transport this stuff out to a deeper port to load on a deeper vessel when we could do it here. So it helps everybody. It helps us for sure, and it definitely helps the Port of Iberia.”

With more businesses moving in and buying locally, the port expects the benefits to spread far beyond Iberia.

“At the end of the day, you’re creating new job opportunities for the local people throughout Acadiana. That’s what’s good. This is Acadiana’s port,” Romero concluded.

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