New Orleans plans to triple container capacity
The Port of New Orleans plans to triple the size of its Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal, said Gary LaGrange, the port’s president and chief executive, in his annual state of the port address on Wednesday.
LaGrange said the port also plans to expand breakbulk facilities more efficiently moving steel, natural rubber, forest products, metals and project cargoes.
'We have to be resourceful in finding new ways to meet our customers’ needs and create new economic opportunities for our city and state,” LaGrange said.
“With the coming expansion of the Panama Canal and growing trade from emerging economies, the port is well positioned to capture new cargoes, create thousands of jobs and provide robust economic opportunities for the region, state and nation,” he said. “It is my hope that we will build upon our strengths, secure the necessary funding for expansion, and begin a new, exciting era for the shipping industry in South Louisiana.”
LaGrange said the port also hopes to attract new home-ported cruise vessels to spur riverfront development and the tourism industry.
“To successfully reach these goals, we must cooperatively work to build upon our economic foundation,” he said, citing a port legislative initiative to offer tax credits to Louisiana shippers who use Louisiana ports.
The Port of New Orleans handles more than 60 percent of all imports to Louisiana companies, but competing ports in neighboring states and on the East and West coasts garner small shares due to a myriad of economic conditions.
The port cited a study conducted by LSU economist James Richardson, who found that efforts to shift just 10 percent to 20 percent of Louisiana cargo going through out-of-state ports would create more than 6,500 jobs and mean more than $1 billion in annual business activity and generate more than $25 million in state and local taxes.
“That’s just a start,” LaGrange said. “We also want to work hand-in-hand with economic development officials to attract regional distribution centers and new manufacturers to the state, all of which will result in new jobs and new opportunities for the entire maritime community.”