Coast Guard reopens Gulf Coast waterways after Hurricane Rita
The U.S. Coast Guard has conditionally reopened waterways along the Gulf Coast that were closed pending inspections in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita.
Major ports from Houston to New Orleans opened for some landside operations Monday, but no vessel calls were allowed until the Coast Guard approved use of the waterways.
The Houston Ship Channel is open to vessels drafting less than 35 feet, and to all tug and barge traffic, with channel activities limited to daylight transit only.
The Gulf Intercoastal Waterway is also open to all tug and barge traffic during daylight hours.
Along the Texas/Louisiana border, the Calcasieu, Neches and Sabine rivers are open to tug and barge traffic during daylight hours only, with the exception of the Calcasieu River to Cameron, La.
The Port of New Orleans expects to have its first containership out of the port by Wednesday.
'Hurricane Rita caused us to lose a few days work and some of the momentum we had gained in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina,' said Gary LaGrange, Port of New Orleans president and chief executive officer. 'Despite a minor setback, we are still on tract to have this port operating at 80 percent to 100 percent of our normal activity before March.'
New Orleans has put out a call for drayage truckers to return to begin working cargo for the port.