Ports & Terminals

Port NOLA Sets New Container Record In 2018

The Port of New Orleans has announced it set a new record in 2018 for container handling, with 591,253 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) moved at its Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal last year.

That’s a 12.3 percent jump compared to 2017, and it marks the fifth year in a row the port has exceeded the half-million mark at the Napoleon Avenue terminal, which is operated by New Orleans Terminal and Ports America.

“The expansion of the Panama Canal and growth in containerized exports, namely resin and frozen poultry, have buoyed Port NOLA’s containerized cargo to record levels,” Brandy Christian, Port NOLA president and CEO, said in a statement. “In addition, loaded imported containers rose 7 percent, which continues to be a focus of Port NOLA’s marketing efforts.

“We anticipate further growth, as direct all-water carrier services to Asia, Europe and the Mediterranean attract larger vessels,” she continued.

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In October 2018, the port welcomed the Pusan C, a 9,500-TEU vessel operated by CMA CGM, which marked the largest container ship to ever call on the port. Last year also marked significant gains for the SEACOR AMH container-on-barge service between the Port of Greater Baton Rouge and the Port of New Orleans. That service saw close to 27,000 TEUs moved by barge in 2018, a 58 percent jump from 2017. The SEACOR AMH container-on-barge service repositions empty containers from Memphis, Tenn., to Baton Rouge, then loads the containers with plastic resins and moves them to New Orleans by barge, where they are loaded onto ships for export.

“Port NOLA continues to work with Louisiana Economic Development and the U.S. Maritime Administration to grow and expand the inland service,” Christian said. “The service helps reposition equipment, reduce congestion on our roadways and manage our growth in an environmentally friendly way.”

The Port of New Orleans now offers 11 weekly container services from three global alliances and independent carriers, connecting New Orleans directly to 58 global ports and more than 450 others via connecting services.

Christian emphasized that, while the port celebrates its current successes, it’s also busy preparing for future growth.

“In the short term, we plan to double our capacity at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal to more efficiently service larger ships and expand our container yard,” Christian said. “Part of the investment includes an expanded partnership with Ports America, which will invest $66.5 million into infrastructure and equipment, accommodating up to four new 100-gauge container cranes to facilitate larger ships, along with investments of up to $300 million for expansion opportunities within our three-parish jurisdiction.”

Intermodal services are also growing at the Port of New Orleans, with intermodal cargo volumes up 15 percent in 2018 as compared to 2017. CN Railroad offers intermodal services between New Orleans and Memphis, Chicago, Detroit and Toronto, Canada, while Kansas City Southern (KCS) offers a weekly service from New Orleans to the Dallas-Fort Worth market. That growth is due, in part, to the port’s acquisition of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad almost one year ago.

“Our industry partners and Class I railroads are working collaboratively on the most efficient, responsible and vibrant gateway possible,” Christian said. “In addition to the KCS service into Dallas-Fort Worth, we anticipate launching new intermodal services soon.”