Ports & Terminals

Port NOLA, Other Gulf Coast Ports Receive FEMA Port Security Grants

A year after the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) received a nearly $515,000 Port Security Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the port was recently awarded another Port Security Grant, this one worth nearly $1 million.

The latest grant, totaling $947,280, will go toward “physical and technological upgrades” for the port’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which becomes the port’s base of operations during hurricanes and other incidents. According to the port, the latest grant will also be used to purchase drones and “enhance the Harbor Police Department’s surveillance network.”

“The Port Security Grant Program further strengthens our ability to proactively protect critical infrastructure and supports the port’s ongoing homeland security efforts, as well as our investigative and law enforcement services,” said Port NOLA President and CEO Brandy Christian, who also serves as CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad.

The port used last year’s $514,964 FEMA grant to upgrade technology at Harbor Police’s Maritime Security Operations Center (MSOC), which promotes coordination and information-sharing between the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies.

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Together, the new systems at both the port’s EOC and the Harbor Police Department’s MSOC will accord with the most up-to-date cybersecurity priorities as determined by Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Commander Capt. Kelly Denning, according to the port.

FEMA’s Port Security Grant Program provides funding to state and local agencies and the private sector “to help protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness, improve port-wide maritime security risk management and maintain or re-establish maritime security mitigation protocols that support port recovery and resiliency capabilities,” according to FEMA.

As in years past, fiscal year 2023 funding for the program totaled $100 million.

Other Gulf Coast region ports receiving Port Security Grants in fiscal year 2023 include the Alabama State Port Authority ($669,705); the Tampa Port Authority ($505,450); the Plaquemines Port, Harbor & Terminal District ($2.3 million); the St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District ($804,736); the Port of South Louisiana ($1.4 million); Port Freeport, Texas ($529,500); the Port of Beaumont Navigation District of Jefferson County, Texas ($228,310); the Port of Corpus Christi Authority, Texas ($2.3 million); the Port of Houston Authority ($1.3 million); the Port of Texas City Security Council ($108,908); the Port of Port Arthur Navigation District, Texas ($2.1 million); and the Port of Victoria, Texas ($18.,50), along with private Gulf-based companies.