Louis Dreyfus Commodities will spend US$150 million to increase grain and oilseed storage and loading capacity at its U.S. Gulf Coast export terminal at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, the company said in a release Tuesday.
The elevator on the bank of the Mississippi River at Port Allen, Louisiana, is built to handle up to five million tonnes of grain and oilseeds annually during the first phase of operation, the agribusiness said.
Further improvements over the next two to three years were expected to boost annual capacity to more than six million tonnes, it said.
"Port Allen will be our flagship export facility on the Mississippi River and a major part of our North American export program, bringing local products to world markets," said Mikael Morn, CEO of Louis Dreyfus Commodities for North America.
"We will start moving product immediately through the terminal, and are positioning ourselves to sustain and expand our leading presence within the grains and oilseeds export landscape in the U.S."
The U.S. Gulf Coast is the largest outlet for corn, soybean and wheat exports from the United States, the world's top supplier. Terminals at the Gulf rely heavily on grain barge shipments from the Midwest farm belt via the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
Louis Dreyfus is one of four large agribusiness players known as the "ABCD" companies that dominate the flow of agricultural goods around the world. The others are Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and privately held Cargill.
-- Reporting for Reuters by Karl Plume in Chicago.