Export Terminal Renovation

Grain Journal


Louis Dreyfus Commodities
Wilton, CT • 203-761-2000
Annual sales: $63.6 billion
Annual volume: 77 million tons
Asset network: 260+ processing and logistic assets globally
Number of employees: 22,000
Platforms: Oilseeds, grains, rice, feed, freight, finance, coffee, cotton, sugar, juice, dairy, fertilizers and inputs, metals
Key personnel at Port Allen:
• Gene Loffler, North American
grain and oilseed logistics operation
• Bill Mullins, Gulf Region grains
and oilseeds logistics operation
• Philip Kelly, superintendent
• Roy Baker, maintenance superintendent
• Lee Harris, safety director
• Donnie Love, operations manager
• Curtis Livingston, operations
• Lynn Meyer, operations manager
Phase I Supplier List
Barge unloader.... Heyl & Patterson Inc.
Bearing sensors...... CMC Industrial Electronics
Bucket elevators........... Intersystems
Bulk weigh scale................. Micada
Catwalks........Southeast Fabricators, Warrior Mfg. LLC, Micada
Cleaner...............Rotex Global LLC
Contractor...........T.E. Ibberson Co.
Control system...CompuWeigh Corp.
Conveyors.... Continental Conveyor, Intersystems, Hi Roller Conveyors
Conveyor belting.............Goodyear Conveyor Belting
Distributor....... The Essmueller Co. 

Dust collection.... Mac Process, Inc.

Elevator buckets....... Maxi-Lift Inc.

Engineering....T.E. Ibberson Company/BERGER/ABAM Engineers Inc.

Gates... Industrial Fabrication Services
Leg belting.......................Goodyear
Level indicators...... BinMaster Level Controls
Liner.............Saint-Gobain Ceramic Materials/DeeRoss Co.
Millwright...........T.E. Ibberson Co.
Motion sensors......CMC Industrial Electronics
Motors........... Toshiba International
Roof system.......................... APEX
Samplers...................... Intersystems
Shiploaders...................Buhler, Inc.
Speed reducers.......Hansen, Dodge, Falk Industries
Spouting........ Industrial Fabrication Services Inc.
Tower support system...... Southeast Fabrication
Valves....Industrial Fabrication Services Inc.

Located on the west bank of the Mississippi River at mile marker 229, the Louis Dreyfus Commodities export terminal located at Port Allen, LA (855-524-7246 ), is as far up the river as you can take a Panamax vessel. Allowing a 45-foot draft, it is an ideal spot for the company to load corn, soybeans, hard red and soft red winter wheat, and distillers dried grains brought in by truck, rail, and barge. 

In 1954, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, which currently owns the property, constructed the original elevator that still is located on-site.

For decades, Cargill, Inc., leased the elevator from the port commission. Once the lease expired, the port commission decided to go out to bid for the operation of the elevator. In 2011, Louis Dreyfus was awarded a new lease and took over operations.

“Our bid included a commitment to renovate the elevator,” says Gene Loffler, North American grain and oilseed logistics operation manager. 

Louis Dreyfus Commodities did that in a big way, with a two-phase, $150 million project that includes two new “seven packs” of shipping bins, a new berth accommodating both barges and oceangoing vessels, and a 1.8-million bushel slipform concrete storage annex.

Using a design/build process, Louis Dreyfus awarded the first phase of the design-build project, which was completed in October 2013, to T.E. Ibberson Company, Hopkins, MN (952-938-7007). That phase included the first shipping bin structure, new vessel dock, new barge dock, and a renovation of major parts of the existing facility.

Engineering work on the facility was performed by T.E. Ibberson Company, and BERGER/ABAM Engineers Inc., Federal Way, WA (206-431-2300), for the first phase of construction.

The second phase of the project, which included a second set of shipping bins and the concrete storage annex, was awarded to Younglove Construction LLC, Sioux City, IA (712-277-3906). Work on Phase II began during Phase I construction in the early spring of 2013 and is expected to be finished in fall 2014. (Look for more details about Phase II in Grain Journal after that portion of the project is completed.)

Phase I Construction
The new 470,000-bushel shipping bin structure consists of a ring of seven slipform concrete tanks holding approximately 70,000 bushels each. The tanks stand 35 feet in diameter and 98 feet tall.

Each tank is equipped with 45-degree steel hoppers and BinMaster level indicators. However, since grain remains in the tanks for less than 24 hours, no aeration or grain temperature monitoring system is needed.

On top of this structure, Ibberson constructed an 80,000-bph Micada bulkweigher equipped with CompuWeigh controls. Prior to entering the bulkweigher, the operator has the option of running
grain through a Rotex rotary grain cleaner. 

The shipping system also is equipped with an Intersystems sampler, which sends samples to a single-story steel building constructed to the west of the shipping bins, which houses a new grain grading laboratory operated by the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS). Federal regulations require a FGIS inspection for all grain prior to loading for export.

The shipping bins empty onto a 100,000-bph Intersystems enclosed belt conveyor, which transfers grain out to the new berth.

Barge/Ship Berth
The new berth constructed over the water provides 600 feet of docking space for oceangoing vessels. Vessels are loaded at 100,000 bph with three Buhler shiploaders through three spouts. Superintendent Philip Kelly stated, “It takes about 3-1/2 days on average to load a Panamax vessel.”

The same structure holds a bay large enough for two standard barges, which are unloaded at 80,000 bph with a Heyl & Patterson barge unloader. The unloader sends grain up an 80,000-bph marine leg. From there, a set of Continental open belt conveyors carry the incoming grain up to the new bulkweigher or to storage.

Phase II
When Grain Journal visited the Port Allen site in February, Younglove’s work on the second shipping bins, identical to the first set, was near completion. The new 1.8-million-bushel grain elevator had been slipped, and was awaiting the installation of grain handling equipment. 

Ed Zdrojewski, editor