Brandy Christian, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans, revealed solid signs for the organization this week, citing gains in cargo and cruise volumes, as well as sizeable projections for future increases.
To date, the port has surpassed the half-million mark for twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) handled at its Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal. This marks the third year of doing so. The port is also on target to see more than 1 million cruise passengers pass through for the fourth consecutive year–and hit seven straight years of record volumes.
“Experts are projecting a 400,000 TEU increase in volume from the Gulf region between 2017 and 2020, mostly fueled by the exports of petrochemical resigns produced in Louisiana,” Christian said. “To offer some local perspective, a half-million TEUs is enough to fill every cubic foot of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome more than 5 and a half times.”
Ocean carriers are expanding service through the port, and the port is now a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Southeast U.S. In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot Program, which pre-treats refrigerated cargo in-transit to guarantee it meets customs compliance even before it reaches the United States. Their business opportunities have increased globally as well, with new opportunities in the Middle East, India, and the Mediterranean Sea.
Signs of the growth are even appearing in the types of ships the port is now seeing, including the upcoming arrival of the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Breakaway, a 4,000 passenger cruise ship that represents the largest to ever sail from New Orleans.
“As a gateway, cargo will move seamlessly through our port, from river to rail to road and from road or rail to river,” Christian said. “We are near to rolling out our Gateway Master Plan that will be focused on delivering the infrastructure for tomorrow to achieve our potential with integrated transportation solutions.”
These future plans include increasing breakbulk capacity and container capacity, restoring industrial real estate properties throughout its jurisdiction and identifying new investments to expand the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad.