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Rail News: Intermodal

New Orleans railroad, port to serve perlite processing facility

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and IT Minerals L.L.C. Chief Executive Officer Jose Domene on Friday announced the company plans to build a $4.5 million perlite processing facility at the Port of New Orleans for minerals sourced from Mexico and other countries.

IT Minerals manufactures lightweight aggregates and fillers for polymer-based and construction products, insulation, textile, cryogenic, horticulture and other products. To be completed in the third quarter, the project calls for constructing an elevated concrete foundation with prefabricated modular containers that will serve as a base of operations for manufacturing, processing and shipping.

A natural gas-fired furnace will process containers of raw materials imported by rail and sea into the port. From the New Orleans facility, IT Minerals expects to serve markets in the United States, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. The facility is projected to produce about 6,000 metric tons and 12,000 metric tons of product in its first and second years of operation, respectively.

The port and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Co. (NOPB) helped attract the facility to Louisiana, port and IT Minerals officials said in a press release.

"The New Orleans Public Belt Railroad-served site on Jourdan Road, connected directly to all six Class I railroads, is a great choice for [this] new perlite processing facility," said Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary LaGrange.

NOPB welcomes the opportunity to serve the facility, said Jeff Davis, the railroad's general manager and CEO.

“The project will contribute to the continued growth of commerce and infrastructure along the Industrial Canal and will bring both jobs and capital investment to the New Orleans economy," he said.

As IT Minerals’ business grows at the port, the company will be able to export containers of perlite from the facility through the Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal, which is under construction and slated for completion by year's end, said LaGrange.

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