Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission Receives $7.32 Million Funding for Port Bienville Intermodal Expansion Project Phase I

March 26, 2024

KILN, MISS: The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission (HCPHC) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded $7.32 million in Transportation-Housing & Urban Development funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of the FY24 appropriations bill. This significant funding is specifically designated for the Port Bienville Railroad Intermodal Expansion Project. 

The Port Bienville Intermodal Expansion Project, with a total budget of $25.4 million, is a critical initiative aimed at enhancing rail infrastructure and addressing key challenges faced by the Port Bienville Railroad (PBVR) and existing industries. The project comprises two distinct phases: 

  • Phase 1 ($14.6 million): Construction of a seven-track classification yard. This yard will significantly increase rail storage capacity, accommodating an additional 220 railcars. The increased capacity will allow the PBVR to better serve its existing tenants and create opportunities for future developments in regional transient storage or new industry. 
  • Phase 2 ($10.8 million): Development of a truck-to-rail intermodal facility. This phase will connect trucking operations to the rail network, enhance efficiency and promote multimodal transportation options in the region. 

HCPHC has received full funding to build Phase 1 with previous awards totaling $3.7 million from RESTORE Act and MS Department of Transportation Multi-Modal announcements in 2022.    

The Port Bienville Intermodal Project was designed to address two significant challenges faced by the PBVR. First, it addresses the storage capacity issue. Currently, the PBVR operates nearly 600 railcars on average, exceeding its rated capacity of 450 railcars. The Intermodal Project will significantly increase operational capacity by approximately 78%, accommodating over 800 railcars by 2027. Second, the project aims to resolve the lack of true intermodal switching capability at Port Bienville Industrial Park. By efficiently connecting trucking operations to the PBVR rail network, the project will enhance regional logistic efficiency and promote multimodal options on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  

“The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission continues to prioritize strategic investments in our infrastructure that support existing industry and develop capacity for new industry in Port Bienville. The project is proceeding with engineering and environmental processes, and we plan to see construction begin in 2026”, remarked Blaine LaFontaine, Executive Director.   

HCPHC extends its sincere gratitude to U.S. Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker, as well as U.S. Representative Mike Ezell, for their efforts in supporting this funding for the Port Bienville Intermodal Project. 




About Port Bienville Short Line Railroad 

Port Bienville Short Line Railroad is a Class III short line railroad owned and operated by the Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission. The railroad interchanges 5 days per week with the CSX line between New Orleans, LA and Mobile, Al. Of the 14 tenants located in the Port Bienville Industrial Park, 7 tenants utilize rail services. Primary commodities moved by the railroad include steel, hazardous materials, pipe, and plastic materials.  

About Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission 

As the county economic development authority, the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission is committed to fostering business investment and job creation. Their focus lies in attracting manufacturing, defense, aviation, and aerospace-related projects to the county. The organization manages the Stennis International Airport and Port Bienville Industrial Park, while also providing support to the Stennis Space Center, NASA’s leading facility for rocket engine testing.