Port NOLA Announces Record Container Growth

NEW ORLEANS — The Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) announced today that it moved a total of 133,845 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) during the third quarter of fiscal year 2024. The port said that number represents a 19% increase year over year and also a record quarter with container volume not seen since 2021.

The port said containerized import volumes continue to steadily climb thanks to its investment in four new ship-to-shore container cranes. It said throughput efficiency also continues to be high.

“This record growth is a direct result of our innovative logistic solutions during supply chain disruptions as shippers focus on diversifying their trade lanes,” said Brandy D. Christian, Port NOLA president and CEO. “Our strategic alignment with the NOPB makes New Orleans the only U.S. city where deep-draft shipping coincides directly with a rail gateway that serves six major Class 1 railroads.”

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More metrics from the port: During the third quarter of fiscal year 2024, loaded imports increased by 19%; loaded exports are up by 16% year over year. Its top import commodities include coffee, mainly from South America and southeast Asia, various chemicals from Mexico and northern Europe, as well as wood products such as plywood from Asia and South America. Top export commodities include plastics such as PVC, mainly to Asia, various chemical products to northern Europe, and paper to Central America. Additionally, there were 100 vessel calls this quarter, representing a 5% increase compared to the same period last year.

“This upward trend is very encouraging and consistent with higher reliability in our weekly ocean carrier services,” said Port NOLA Chief Commercial Officer Amanda Coates. “It also translates into more steady volumes from month to month than those from previous quarters.” 

Last month, Port NOLA announced that it set a new record for its container-on-barge service, moving 20,500 containers by barge during calendar year 2023, the highest since the service started in 2016 with the Port of Greater Baton Rouge and Ingram Marine Group. The port said the partnership represents the largest container-on-barge network in the U.S. with connectivity to the nation’s heartland. Container-on-barge moves containers by water rather than by truck on roads to reduce air emissions, moving an average of 30,000 TEUs per year between New Orleans, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, Memphis, and St. Louis.

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A Port NOLA spokesperson said the port’s planned downriver container terminal, the Louisiana International Terminal (LIT), will also be equipped to provide container-on-barge services. LIT builds on past federal investments by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in dredging the Mississippi River to 50 feet and the $14.6 billion Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, in which LIT will be strategically located.

LIT is planned for Violet, Louisiana, 17 miles downriver from the Crescent City Connection bridge. Its location is important because it avoids air draft restrictions that limit the size of vessels that currently call on the Port of New Orleans. The new terminal will be designed to serve vessels of all sizes, increasing Louisiana’s import and export capacity.

LIT is currently in the design and permitting phase.

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Last week, Port NOLA announced that it had been awarded $7,117,567 from the Federal Highway Administration’s Reducing Truck Emissions at Port Facilities (RTEPF) Grant program that is funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 

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