Trafigura plans to invest around $100 million to reopen the currently idled Burnside facility as a state-of-the-art major bulk terminal for coal, bauxite and alumina. The Burnside facility was originally constructed in 1956 alongside an alumina refinery, but closed in January 2008. The alumina refinery was not included.

Trafigura will be examining a variety of options for the engineering works and investment needed to refurbish and expand the facility. It will be only the fourth facility—and the only one with the possibility of both rail-to-vessel and barge-to-vessel capabilities—on the Mississippi and is set to become one of the top 10 coal and bulk logistics facilities in the United States.

As part of the transaction Trafigura will also provide terminal services to Ormet’s alumina refinery, the most important of which will be offloading bauxite and discharging alumina. The company is targeting a throughput of around 10 million metric tons annually, using bulk cargo ships of up to 120,000 deadweight tons.

“We have been considering and studying this for a while and have been impressed at the level of support, commitment, energy and encouragement from Ascension Parish and the State of Louisiana,” said Simon Collins, director of Trafigura Beheer BV, the Dutch registered commodities trading company. “We are aware that currently the U.S. faces real constraints in supplying coal. The 20 or so terminal facilities across the country are simply maxed out. The development of Burnside as one of the country’s biggest terminals will create new opportunities to establish optimized flows of coal, both in and out of the U.S.

“The redeveloped terminal will reduce pressure on existing facilities while providing a vitally needed multi-modal logistics platform on the Mississippi,” said Collins.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure we have the right mix of capacity, equipment, ship size and capital investment,” said Martijn Snijder, CEO, Impala, warehousing. “Investments made today can take years to be fully effective and we want to make sure we match the terminal’s capacities with the supply and demand for coal. We will be able to blend coal from different sources to meet the exacting specifications of buyers and markets wherever they may be. We particularly look forward to working together with Ormet.”