PARIS – On Thursday, Gov. John Bel Edwards said that meetings with international business leaders in Europe this week have reaffirmed that Louisiana’s unique combination of sustainable energy solutions and global supply chain logistics advantages are positioning the state for long-term economic growth. The governor made his comments prior to embarking for Normandy to pay tribute to U.S. military veterans at historical World War II sites, following a series of Wednesday meetings with state and international business executives and economic development leaders as part of a weeklong economic mission to the Netherlands and France.
“Time and again in my conversations with industry leaders this week, Louisiana’s superior transportation infrastructure and energy transition leadership have been cited as critical factors in attracting potential new foreign direct investment,” Gov. Edwards said. “It is clear that market forces disrupting the world economy are creating a historic opportunity for our state. To capitalize, we must continue to pursue partnerships that build on foundational strengths such as our port, rail and pipeline networks. And we must be unwavering in our commitment to follow through on Louisiana’s climate action plan, which charts a course for increasing resilience and reducing carbon emissions while growing our economy.”
The governor met Wednesday with Port of New Orleans President and CEO Brandy Christian, Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans Chairman Charles Ponstein, and CEO Ammar Kanaan of Terminal Investments Limited, one of the world’s leading container terminal developers, to discuss the potential of investment in Louisiana’s vital maritime infrastructure and explore future partnership opportunities. Christian detailed the status of the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal expansion project, and discussed the potential economic impact of current and proposed state infrastructure improvements.
“Louisiana’s position in international commerce depends on our ability to meet current and future shipping needs,” said Christian, who is also CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. “As Louisiana’s only international container port, Port NOLA is planning the next generation of infrastructure to strengthen our position as the gateway of choice in the Gulf of Mexico, and create jobs and opportunity for the state.”
The Port of New Orleans’ unique location on the Mississippi River offers exporters access to global markets as well as 30-plus major inland hubs such as Dallas, Memphis, Chicago and Canada via 14,500 miles of waterways, 6 Class I railroads and interstate roadways. Strategic alignment with the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad – a Class III connecting railroad – strengthens Port NOLA’s position as an integrated hub of jobs and international commerce for Louisiana.
“We are delighted to participate in the discussion for future public-private partnerships that further develop the maritime industry in New Orleans to allow handling of the largest cargo ships in the U.S. Gulf region,” Kanaan said. “Our meeting outlined the vision and road map, and we look forward to working with the Gov. Edwards administration and the Port Authority on the planned next steps.”
TIL shareholder MSC, a container company operating in Louisiana for nearly 20 years, has established a corporate commitment to green technology and net-zero development practices that aligns with Louisiana’s climate action plan.
“With container vessels continuously getting bigger and an increasing focus to reduce the carbon footprint of our activities, our group aims to be part of the development of new, future-proof container handling capacity in New Orleans," said Tom Van Eynde, TIL’s Terminal Investment Director North America.
Following the discussion with port and container shipping leaders, Gov. Edwards led the Louisiana delegation to the Paris headquarters of TotalEnergies SE, a French multinational integrated energy and petroleum company recognized as one of the seven supermajor oil companies in the world. TotalEnergies has announced its goal to become a net-zero energy provider by 2050. The company has holdings and operations in Louisiana, and officials discussed with the governor its exploration of carbon capture and sequestration options, and development of renewable energy sources including wind and solar.
“TotalEnergies’ evolving business strategy is emblematic of the economic diversification and foreign direct investment that the energy transition is driving in Louisiana,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “Louisiana has ranked No. 1 for per capita FDI every year for the past decade, and No. 4 for total FDI during that same period. By staying ahead of the climate action curve, we can ensure that foreign investments in Louisiana – which totaled $7.3 billion in 2021 – will continue to stimulate job creation and economic activity across our state.”