Seaboard leasing France Road berth in New Orleans
Seaboard Marine has signed a six-year lease for use of Berth 1 of the France Road terminal at the Port of New Orleans, which has been idled for two years since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.
“We are excited about the opportunity to help Seaboard Marine grow its business in New Orleans and also to put portions of our France Road facility back in operation,” said Gary LaGrange Port of New Orleans' president and chief executive officer. “The port will work diligently with Seaboard to ensure the long-term success of the facility.'
Seaboard has operated a twice-weekly service from New Orleans to the northern region of Central America, calling Santo Tomas, Guatemala and Puerto Cortes, Honduras. Seaboard has been using the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal for that service.
“We look forward to taking the next step in growing what has been a productive relationship with the Port of New Orleans and establishing our own facility on France Road,” said Bruce Brecheisen, vice president of Seaboard Marine. “This facility should provide a platform to grow and develop our New Orleans operations further.'
Seaboard and the port will spend $1.13 million initially for infrastructure improvements to the facility, which includes a more than 17-acre marshalling yard at France Road Berth 2 and 3 and Terminal Berth 1, along with a back-up area at the entrance plaza at France Road Berth 4. The lease area also includes a 67,000-square-foot warehouse.
Port officials said they also plan to seek $6 million from state and federal sources to renovate the entire terminal at France Road Berth 1.
Hurricane Katrina derailed and damaged the trolley that moved the container cranes at France Road. In addition, the terminal was idled because the storm surge from Katrina — as well as earlier hurricanes — pushed silt into the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet and the adjoining Inner Harbor Navigation Channel where the France Road terminal is located. That ended calls by carriers with larger containerships that had called the terminal in the past.
Seaboard uses combination vessels in the Central America trade that do not require deep drafts.