Impala Burnside Terminal in Darrow

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley
The Burnside Terminal in Darrow is back in effect, having its first coal commission at the end of February.

The Burnside Terminal in Darrow is back in effect, having its first coal commission at the end of February.

Impala acquired the Burnside Terminal to create a “state-of-the-art bulk terminal for coal, bauxite and alumina” on the lower Mississippi River.

The original terminal was constructed in 1956 but had been closed since 2008. Since Impala’s acquisition in 2011, business and economic activity in the area has substantially increased in the area.

Now receiving regular shipments of bauxite, the terminal will become one of the top coal and bulk logistics facilities in the U.S. and the only one on the Mississippi River able to offer both rail-to-vessel and barge-to-vessel capability.

Clark Vega, of Harris, DeVille & Associates, Inc., said Impala has spent over $250 million refurbishing the Burnside Terminal and said it’s taken two and a half to three years but “it has finally come to fruition and opening.”

Vega said Impala has focused on keeping it local as well in its process and plans to continue to do so.

“With the construction that has been going on there have been 300 to 400 construction workers that have been out there,” Vega said, “and that’s all pretty localized Louisiana construction companies.”

“We’re very good on keeping it local, using local services,” Vega said. “We try to stay as local in Ascension Parish as possible as well to give back here.”

Terminal Business Development Manager, Jonathon Shull said the facility has an employment of about 77 people now, with 73 of those coming from the local community.

At full operation the Burnside Terminal should be right above 115 people,” Shull said and added those are pretty good paying jobs.

Shull said the terminal’s location is what makes it so special and not just economically, but also in safety.

“Position with the river economically in terms of how functional we can be in the marketplace,” Shull said. “There’s also a safety from hurricanes. Some of our competitors are closer to the open gulf and have suffered significant damage in the past year.”

Impala has kept in communication with local residents and neighbors in the Darrow area to keep them informed on what’s going on and with just an intent to be a good neighbor itself.

Vega said the reception has been pretty positive.

“We’ve met with several and they’ve all been pretty positive on welcoming and being open toward any concerns.”

Both Vega and Shull know there is high traffic volume in that area, but are unsure if there are efforts to accommodate it with some road work.

Shull said, “We would appreciate any effort that LaDOTD would do to improve that section of the roadway. If you commute to Donaldsonville you know how busy it is.”