The growing containerization of goods is driving the evolution of the shipping industry, with larger container ships being constructed to carry more goods on global trade routes. A challenge facing the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) is planning, building, and maintaining the infrastructure necessary to meet the needs of this growing market segment as well as those of the traditional breakbulk sector.
The Panama Canal expansion has positioned Gulf ports, particularly Port NOLA, for significant growth opportunities thanks in part to greater access than ever before to more international markets. Port NOLA’s Strategic Master Plan lays out a pathway to capture forecast cargo market predictions by making significant infrastructure investments in existing facilities and developing new capacity to serve larger ships. The plan calls for doubling the capacity at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal by purchasing up to four ship-to-shore cranes, investing in rail, and expanding container yard operations.
Additionally, the US Army Corps of Engineers cleared the way to ensure larger ships can access ports on the Lower Mississippi River by approving dredging to 50 feet at the mouth of the river, putting Port NOLA ahead of other Gulf ports. To handle demand and planning for the long term, a priority site is being evaluated for a second and complimentary container terminal that can accommodate container operations for all three ocean carrier alliances and vessels of any size.
The crux of our master plan is developing collaborative partnerships with various entities including port, railroad, regional, state and federal partners, and private sector investors. Port NOLA has secured major investors, including operators and carriers, and continues discussions with several companies on the benefits of collocating value-added businesses such as manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution services to drive a regional freight-based economy.
Our future is that of a state-of-the-art integrated gateway, which enables us to think more comprehensively about freight movement and our multimodal efforts in order to meet the industry’s changing needs.