South Louisiana port getting $2M to expand fabrication yard, upgrade fishing dock – The Advocate

South Louisiana port getting $2M to expand fabrication yard, upgrade fishing dock – The Advocate

The Port of Delcambre has been awarded a $2 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve an industrial fabrication yard and rebuild its commercial fishing docks.

Wendell R. Verret, port director, said the hope is expanding the fabrication yard will lead to additional jobs at Bagwell Energy Services. Bagwell could add up to 450 jobs over the next five years.

The Bagwell expansion is a $5 million project funded by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s port priority program. The state is putting up $4 million and the Twin Parish Port District of Iberia and Vermilion Parish was set to put up a $1 million match.

But the federal transportation agency launched a new program as part of the Biden administration’s near-term plan to address America’s clogged supply chain with port infrastructure improvements. This program offers grants of up to $4 million for small ports.

The $2 million award will cover the port’s match for the state grant.

“This allows us to put that money back in our pocket and start looking at other projects,” Verret said.

Bagwell Energy Services, which has long served the oil and gas production industry, expanded in the mid-1990s as a Port of Delcambre tenant, supporting the offshore oil and gas business.

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The company sold off its assets 20 years ago to the Shaw Group, a Baton Rouge industrial and energy services giant founded and run by Jim Bernhard. Bagwell bought the Port of Delcambre facilities back from McDermott, the Shaw Group’s successor, in 2018. 

The federal funds will also cover the cost of rebuilding the port’s commercial docks.

“Our docks are in terrible, terrible shape,” Verret said.

Engineering work is currently underway for the expansion and dock rebuilding. Verret said the construction should start sometime in the next year.

The federal transportation grants awarded Thursday topped $241 million.

The transportation money is being made available immediately to 24 other projects in 19 states.

Next year, the amount of money for port improvements will nearly double to $450 million in grants annually for five years under President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure law.