New Orleans zeroes in on military cargoes
After handling a shipment of some 1,300 pieces of military equipment for the Army and Marines last week, the Port of New Orleans said it hopes it can land such cargoes on a regular basis in the future.
The port handled an unusual domestic shipment from New Orleans bound for Wilmington, N.C. that included equipment for the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne and the U.S. Marine Corps' 24 Marine Expeditionary Force, using the Milan Street Wharf. Both military units were in New Orleans for hurricane relief operations, but are scheduled to redeploy as National Guard units take full control of military operations around New Orleans.
'A redeployment of this type for a mission in the United State is unusual,' said Capt. Ryon F. Adams, operations officer for the 842nd Transportation Battalion. “For overseas deployments, this is the norm. But for stateside deployments, it's out of the ordinary.'
Before the Gulf Coast was hammered by this year's hurricanes, the Port of New Orleans had been pitching itself as a 'strategic seaport' for the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's operations. There are 18 U.S. seaports with that designation, handling military deployments and ordinary military shipments. Gulf ports that already have the designation include Corpus Christi and Beaumont, Texas.
Gary LaGrange, Port of New Orleans president and chief executive officer, said the shipments handled last week offered the port an opportunity to show the military what the Port of New Orleans can do.
'By adding the Port of New Orleans to the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's logistics portfolio, our military would have greater flexibility in moving equipment, especially in the face of natural disasters like the ones we just experienced,' LaGrange said.