Brandy Christian, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans and CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB), received the 2020 C. Alvin Bertel Award November 18 at the annual World Trade Center award ceremony and luncheon.
The C. Alvin Bertel Award was established in 1967 and is presented each year to an individual who has made significant contributions to the Louisiana port and maritime community. Christian oversees all cargo, cruise and industrial real estate operations at Port NOLA. As the CEO of NOPB, she sets strategic direction and oversees all rail holdings.
“It is truly an honor to receive this recognition among my distinguished peers,” she said as she accepted the award. “Every day, I am humbled by the hard work and commitment of our transportation and trade community. At Port NOLA, we are focused on meeting demand as a vital economic engine for the state and the region. Receiving the Bertel Award is a validation of our collective efforts to strengthen the Port NOLA gateway and drive Louisiana forward.”
The Bertel Award is presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to the advancement of the greater New Orleans port area, with the recipient chosen by 11 international trade, transportation and economic development organizations that make up the selection committee.
“The World Trade Center New Orleans is extremely pleased with the selection of Brandy Christian as the 2020 Bertel Award recipient,” said Stephen Hanemann, World Trade Center board chairman. “Brandy’s leadership and vision have elevated the Port of New Orleans to a new level of excellence, and her efforts have helped our region serve as a global catalyst for international trade. New Orleans and Louisiana are fortunate to have Brandy at the helm of one our state’s key domestic and international ports.”
Under Christian’s leadership, Port NOLA has increased the state’s competitive advantage and strengthened the region’s supply chain options with the strategic alignment of NOPB and investment plans designed to meet current and future demand. In 2018, the port established a strategic master plan that it continues to execute throughout the port’s jurisdiction.
Port NOLA is now an international brand that reaches 60 ports directly and an additional 450 ports via transshipment. Trade volumes have been increasing dramatically, doubling over the past 10 years and with double-digit growth in container volumes in 2018 and 2019.
Despite COVID-19 disruptions, Port NOLA has operated uninterrupted, providing an essential service for the community, region and the global supply chain. Through it all, Port NOLA remains focused on planning for the future to help drive a stable economy for the region and state.
“To get there, we are doubling down, with a $100 million investment that will add four new 100-gauge ship-to-shore cranes at our current terminals,” Christian said. “We are also doubling down on the development of a state-of-the-art, big-ship-ready container terminal downriver. “With 50-plus feet of water draft, no air draft restrictions, protected by the $14 billion investments in flood protection and offering unmatched rail, barge and road service from day one, we will be the only port in the Gulf that is big-rail, big-ship and big-river ready.”
Christian has worked in the maritime industry for nearly two decades. After 14 years with the Port of San Diego, where she ultimately served as vice president of business development and strategy, the Port NOLA Board of Commissioners recruited Christian to become chief operating officer of the port in 2015. She was later named president and CEO of the port.
Caption for top photo: Port NOLA President and CEO and NOPB CEO Brandy Christian speaks at the C. Alvin Bertel Award ceremony at the annual World Trade Center event held November 18. (Photo courtesy of Port NOLA)