History of the Port
Prior to the 1920’s, Baton Rouge's docking facilities consisted of wooden wharves along the Mississippi River’s edge. With no levee system in place, river levels remained relatively stable, making a simple mooring system sufficient. Further, Standard Oil Refinery (now ExxonMobil) operated private docking facilities upriver, which accounted for the lion’s share of Baton Rouge’s waterborne commerce.
By the early 1920’s, there was need for a public docking facility to handle cargo for smaller shippers and port users. By 1926, the Baton Rouge Municipal Dock was completed on the east bank of the Mississippi. The year 1952 brought legislation establishing the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission, and in 1954 construction commenced on General Cargo Dock No. 1, the Grain Elevator and Grain Dock on the west bank of the river.
Fast forward to today, and the Port of Greater Baton Rouge is ranked among the top ports in the nation in total tonnage including export, import and domestic cargo. With high marks for productivity and damage-free cargo handling, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge is capable of handling a wide range of products. Forest products, agricultural products, biomass products, steel and pipe, ores and coals, petroleum products, and bulk and liquid bulk chemicals top the list of cargoes shipped through port facilities bound for markets all over the world.
The Port of Greater Baton Rouge has come quite a long way from wooden wharves. A detailed account of the port’s construction and growth since the 1950's is available here:
Click to download a pdf of The History of the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also has a history of the Baton Rouge riverfront.
Click to download a pdf of Down by the River.