New Orleans rated top U.S. port

Staff Report
Published Aug. 21, 2013

NEW ORLEANS — The Port of New Orleans topped Business Facilities’ recent rankings of the nation’s top ports, winning points for intermodal connectivity that bested all other metro areas in the United States.

“With its proximity to the center of the U.S. via a 14,500-mile inland waterway system, six Class 1 railroads and a nexus of interstate highways, New Orleans is the port of choice for the movement of everything from steel, rubber and manufactured goods to commodities like coffee,” said Jack Rogers, editor -in- chief of the New Jersey-based publication.

Other Southeastern ports in the magazine’s top 10:

  • Newport News, Va. (2)
  • Jacksonville, Fla. (6)
  • Savannah, Ga. (8)
  • Norfolk, Va. (9)

Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary LaGrange said the ranking is appreciated, but not surprising.

“The port’s superior connectivity is no secret to shippers and our customers worldwide,” he said.

Business Facilities also noted that $128 million has been invested since 2008 in the port. Those projects include expansions of container operations, cold storage facilities and marshaling yards.

“We’re impressed with the state’s commitment to its premier port,” Rogers said.

Another project in the works is the $26 million Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal, which is in the engineering phase. The project is designed to improve rail efficiency and capacity within the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal. Construction is expected to begin by the end of 2013 and take 12 months to complete.

“We’ve grown our container volumes significantly over the past few years by focusing on the needs of the shippers and by making smart investments in our capacity,” LaGrange said. “We are proud of what we have accomplished, but we understand there is a lot of work to do to continue to stay ahead of market demands.”

The state also has taken steps to attract private investment in port infrastructure. Back in June, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed legislation that expands state tax incentives to include warehousing and storage, port operations, marine cargo handling, shipbuilding and repair, and oil and gas activities.

“If we’re going to remain competitive and keep creating jobs for our people, we need to redirect Louisiana cargo through Louisiana ports, creating a new critical mass of cargo that attracts new shipping services, distribution and warehousing services and infrastructure investment,” Jindal said. “This legislation will do just that — attract new companies who want to ship goods and services through our waterways, ultimately moving our economy forward.”

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