The Gulf Coast port also saw increases in breakbulk and the return of roll-on/roll-off service for the first time since 2005, Port of New Orleans CEO Brandy D. Christian said at the annual State of the Port address Thursday.
Port NOLA has seen growth increases in its container, breakbulk and roll on/roll off segments.
The Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) surpassed the half-million mark for TEUs at its Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal for the third consecutive year with 503,358 TEUs, Port NOLA CEO Brandy D. Christian said at the annual State of the Port address Thursday.
“We achieved this milestone for a third year in a row and anticipate continued growth in our container market. 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 resins produced in Louisiana.” Christian said at the event, which was hosted by the International Freight Forwarders & Customs Brokers Association of New Orleans. “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.”
The predicted increases in volumes are partly due to the fact that Port NOLA has successfully retained the service of all three-major mega-container carrier alliances. According to ocean carrier schedule and capacity database BlueWater Reporting, there are five alliance services calling Port NOLA: the 2M Alliance TA6 and TA3 services, OCEAN Alliance PEX3 and Victory Bridge services, and the THE Alliance AL4.
Breakbulk grew 17 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, led by strong steel and non-ferrous metals. Port NOLA imported 2.4 million tons of steel in fiscal year 2017. Port NOLA also saw the return of roll-on, roll-off service for the first time since 2005, with the inaugural call of the state-of-the-art vessel the Bahri Yanbu. “The return of roll-on, roll-off service increased our connection to the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Mediterranean Sea and helps us meet the diverse needs of the marketplace,” Christian said. “The Bahri ships are modern vessels that can simultaneously accommodate Project, Roll-on/Roll-off, Breakbulk and Container cargo.”
Port NOLA is also focused on integrating transportation modes with the planned acquisition of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad from the City of New Orleans. This acquisition, which is expected to be complete around the end of the year, will improve the Port’s intermodal capabilities and global competitiveness, while allowing strategic investments for growth and improve service to the six Class I railroads and Port NOLA tenants. “It is a win-win-win for all parties involved,” Christian said. “Industry-wide, all logistic elements become more closely integrated and shippers who must have or prefer rail benefit from more seamless logistics solutions.”
Port NOLA has two other major projects in the works, the first being included in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Southeast U.S. In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot Program, which treats refrigerated cargo to meet customs compliance in-transit rather than after arriving to the U.S. The second project is the Gateway Master Plan which includes increasing breakbulk capacity, expanding container capacity, revitalizing undervalued industrial real estate properties throughout the Port’s three-parish jurisdiction and identifying strategic investments to expand the operational efficiencies of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad.
“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.”
Part of the master plan includes the expansion of environmental sustainability programs, such as the Clean Truck Replacement Incentive Program (TRIP). “Through Clean TRIP, 39 truck owners who service Port NOLA were able to replace their older model trucks with newer, cleaner models,” Christian said. “As a result, carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by 247 tons per year, air pollutants are reduced by more than 90 percent, and each truck driver saves an average of 590 gallons of fuel and approximately $1,500 in fuel costs each year.”