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Ports Association of Louisiana: Supporting Louisiana’s Maritime Industry

Louisiana is home to many ports which all play a vital role in the development of the state’s economy along the inland waterway system. Currently, more than 60% of grain in the United States, and 20% of the nation’s petroleum and energy commodities are handled by ports across Louisiana and so industries such as these have brought continuous economical and developmental success to the state for many years. Therefore, the Ports Association of Louisiana (PAL) was established to bring together the ports, stakeholders, and vital industries of Louisiana with the aim of developing the state’s maritime industry to bring significant economic development for the state’s future.  


Established in 1984, PAL was designed to develop and foster efficient and reliable relationships among the ports in the State of Louisiana. This need for unification among the state’s maritime sector came as the demand for cargo movement along the Gulf Coast of Mexico continued to see a significant increase in demand for handling needs. PAL’s role, therefore, was estbalished to support the ports playing a vital role in developing Louisiana’s ports by facilitating operations such as cargo handlind to meet the demands of the state for now and in the future. Today, PAL provides essential cargo handling services to the oil, gas, agiculture, petrochemical and manufacturing industries – all of which play a significant role in developing the economic output of the U.S. In fact, in the national oil and gas sector, Pal’s operations cover 100% of the national deepwater offshore oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, which is estimated to add more than $182 billion in economic output for Louisiana’s economy.  

The central roles for PAL include the promotion and exchange of information between ports to ensure that each operation remain up to date with the best technologies to meet the demands of the future. To achieve this PAL is focused on ensuring all policies, plans, and questions of common interests relating to each port’s operations are presented to key stakeholders on a regional, state, national and international scale. Furthermore, PAL continues to represent the interests of every member across the Association in various setting, including governmental, to improve the conditions and efficiency of Louisiana’s ports and help them to maintain top quality services which aid in building continuous economic prosperity.   

Over the last 40 years, PAL has grow to now have 32 corporate members and 85 associate members. Corporate members include all state-created port commission, ports, harbours and terminal districts, as well as board of commissioners, navigation districts and terminal authrories which are all working to promote and develop the maritime industry of Louisiana. Other membership include associate members, which covers both public and private entities which are concerned with the maritime industry. The vast array of members, including some of the largest ports in America, has allowed PAL to remain ahead of the nationwide maritime industry.  

One way PAL continues to promote these ports is thorough vital networking, which it achieves through the promotion and publication of key information regarding in each ports and the Louisiana port industry for the maritime and logistics sector. This networking covers mediums such as newsletters, magazines and journals. Another key networking aspect is the annual conference held by PAL, which is designed to bring together its members, key governmental figures, companies and stakeholders among both international and regional maritime and logistics sectors to promote the role of Louisiana’s ports to domestic and international markets.  

In an effort to stay ahead of the curve, PAL continues to focus on academic research and educational development across the port and maritime sector of Louisiana. This focus on education is a prominent focus of PAL as it strives to ensure every single port is equipped witht the knowledge and expertise to meet the advancing needs of the future and the growing demand of development across the port’s industry. Therefore, as PAL moves towards the future through educational and technological advancement, PAL is already working to adapt and develop each ports to accommodate larger ships that are travelling through the Panama Canal. This development project will cost the federal government $300 million and the state of Louisiana $150 million, with the aim of developing the berths and depths of the state’s ports and adding $849 million of income and 17,000 new jobs to the economy. With this development project, we can see PAL’s commitment to working with key governmental bodies, as well as its members, to provide greater operational capacity to Louisiana’s ports.   

PAL’s ports include the Port of South Louisiana which is one of America’s largest tonnage ports, which serves as a vital gateway for US exports and imports. Located on the Mississippi River, the port is the leading US port for domestic trade, accounting for roughly 57% of Louisiana’s exports. With such a vital port for the entire nation’s import and export market under its Association, PAL continues to build a reputation and a leading voice for the port and maritime industry across Louisiana. Plus, being located in Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ), many ports under PAL benefit from the potential deferral, reduction or possible elimination of duties as many items of cargo, as long as they do not enter the domestic market, are often not subject to tax or duties. This deferral, reduction or elimination of duties, gives a competitive edge to the ports under PAL by reducing duties fees, eliminating year-end inventory loss adjustment and providing much faster delivery speeds. Therefore, the Association has built a reputation for success which focuses on delivering vital port services efficiently and cost effectively. 

Overall, PAL has worked over the last 40 years to unify Louisiana’s maritime and cargo industry by bringing together key players across all aspects of the sector with the goal of promoting, developing and educating the industry for the continued benefit for its members. With such a vast and growing industry as the cargo one, PAL’s commitment to remain ahead of the curve has established it as a crucial port asoociation that brings significant benefits to the U.S. economy. We look forward to seeing how PAL continues to expand over the coming years, and for yet another successful year for investment into the region’s maritime industry.  

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