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Port of New Orleans breaks 500,000-TEU mark for 3rd consecutive year

THE Gulf Coast port of New Orleans has broken the half-million-TEU mark for container throughput at its Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal for the third year in a row handling 503,358 TEU. Port authorities anticipate ongoing growth in its container segment.

Speaking at the port's annual state of the port address, its CEO Brandy Christian was quoted as saying in a report by American Shipper: "Experts are projecting a 400,000 TEU increase in volume from the Gulf region between 2017 and 2020, mostly fuelled by the exports of petrochemical resins produced in Louisiana."

The forecast growth in volumes is partly attributed to the port successfully retaining the services of all three of the world's mega container shipping alliances.

According to ocean carrier schedule database BlueWater Reporting, five alliance services call at the port: the 2M Alliance's TA6 and TA3 services, OCEAN Alliance's PEX3 and Victory Bridge services, and THE Alliance's AL4.

Breakbulk volume was up 17 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016, on the back of strong steel and non-ferrous metal volumes. The port imported 2.4 million tonnes of steel in fiscal year 2017.

The port also saw the return of roll-on, roll-off service for the first time since 2005, with the inaugural call of the vessel Bahri Yanbu.

"The return of roll-on, roll-off service increased our connection to the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Mediterranean Sea and helps us meet the diverse needs of the marketplace," Mr Christian said. "The Bahri ships are modern vessels that can simultaneously accommodate project, roll-on/roll-off, breakbulk and container cargo."

The port is also focused on integrating transportation modes with the planned acquisition of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad from the city of New Orleans. This acquisition, which is expected to be completed at the end of the year, will improve the port's intermodal capabilities and service to the six Class I railroads.

The port has two other major projects in the works, the first being included in the US Department of Agriculture's Southeast US In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot Programme, which treats refrigerated cargo to meet customs compliance in-transit rather than after arriving in the US.

The second project is the Gateway Master Plan which includes expanding breakbulk and container capacity, revitalising industrial real estate properties and identifying strategic investments to boost the operational efficiencies of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad.
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