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Cristobal closes Port of New Orleans terminals

Operations at ports from Maine to Texas will cease for one hour Tuesday as ILA and USMX show respect for George Floyd

Port of New Orleans terminals were closed Monday although there were no reports of storm damage. (Photo: Port NOLA)

Port of New Orleans terminals were closed Monday after Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall near Grand Isle, Louisiana, on Sunday evening.

Although the storm had been downgraded to a tropical depression and moved east on Monday, terminals were closed “given the continued heavy rainfall and uncertainty of rain and wind conditions,” said Renee Aragon Dolese, Port NOLA’s director of marketing and communications.

She said Port NOLA expected normal business operations at the New Orleans Terminal and Ports America container terminals and all breakbulk terminals to resume Tuesday.

The U.S. Coast Guard had closed the Lower Mississippi River to vessel traffic at 10 p.m. Saturday. The Coast Guard conducted an assessment after the storm passed and reopened the Lower Mississippi to navigation effective 1:15 p.m. Monday.

There was no damage reported at Port NOLA facilities.


Port Houston reported normal operations on Monday.

Lisa Ashley, Port Houston’s director of media relations, did say there will be an International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) work stoppage from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday “to show respect to George Floyd and support for unity, justice and equality.”

Floyd, whose death while in police custody in Minneapolis sparked protests across the country, will be buried in Houston on Tuesday.

The ILA and the U.S. Maritime Alliance announced that a “peaceful protest hour” will be conducted Tuesday at all ports from Maine to Texas.

At Port Freeport in Texas on Monday, all vessel and terminal operations were being conducted normally.

Mobile, Alabama

Port of Mobile bar pilot operations remained suspended Monday.

“The bar pilots suspended deep-draft operations on Saturday night at 8:12 p.m. CDT due to high seas at the sea buoy,” said Judith Adams, Alabama State Port Authority (ASPA) vice president of marketing.

Adams said as of midmorning Monday, two container ships and one neo-bulk vessel were waiting to enter the port and one roll-on/roll-off ship and a crude carrier were waiting to depart.

“This vessel backlog is considered to be rather low in numbers, meaning this backlog can be quickly cleared once pilot operations resume,” she said. 

Adams said Port of Mobile terminals remained open Monday except during bouts of rain, when general cargo operations are suspended, and wind. “Bulk, neo-bulk and container gantry cranes will stop operations in winds that exceed 25-30 mph,” she said. “Despite cessation of some operations, our employees — admin and shift [workers] — are on the job and there is no damage to note at facilities.”

Nick Austin, FreightWaves’ senior meteorologist, said 5.56 inches of rain pounded Mobile on Sunday. 

Although Cristobal had weakened to a tropical depression with sustained winds of 35 mph, heavy rainfall continued across the lower Mississippi Valley on Monday.

APM Terminals Mobile said to accommodate the planned ILA observance in honor of Floyd its in-gate processing will be closed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday.

“This will allow the staff to service all the trucks in the yard prior to the 12 p.m. closure,” APM Terminals Mobile said in an announcement. “No out-gate transactions will occur from noon to 1 p.m.”

Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.