The Port of Lake Charles is a deepwater port located in Lake Charles, Louisiana, located on the Calcasieu Ship Channel, north of the U.S. Gulf Coast. The Port opened in 1926 and today is the 12th-busiest port district in the nation, based on tonnage, as ranked by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It also was named by Forbes magazine as the seventh-fastest growing seaport in America.
The Port manages the Calcasieu Ship Channel, which runs inland 36 miles and extends out into the Gulf of Mexico another 32 miles. The Port of Lake Charles’ official name is the Lake Charles Harbor & Terminal District, a public body created by the Louisiana Legislature. The District encompasses 203 square miles in Calcasieu Parish and operates on 5,420 acres.
The Port of Lake Charles owns and operates two marine terminals—the City Docks and Bulk Terminal No. 1—and two industrial parks—the Industrial Canal and Industrial Park East. In addition, this deepwater port serves as landlord to companies leasing Port-owned property and owns several leasable sites on and near the Calcasieu Ship Channel.
Lake Charles is a port of choice along the gulf coast for breakbulk, specialty and project cargo. Principal cargoes moving through the Port’s terminals are project cargoes, aluminum, forest products, steel, bulk grain and other agricultural food products, petroleum coke and other petroleum products, barite and rutile.
The Port of Lake Charles and the Calcasieu Ship Channel have been a catalyst for economic growth for nearly a century. Today, the Calcasieu Ship Channel drives $39 billion of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to the 2021 study “The Economic Impacts of the Calcasieu Ship Channel” conducted by Martin Associates and commissioned by Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District. In addition, the Calcasieu Ship Channel drives two-thirds of the GDP in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes.