The addition of new shipping services and an uptick in the national economy contributed to record cargo container volumes at the Port of New Orleans in 2014.
According to year-end totals, 490,526 twenty-foot-equivalent units moved through the Port’s Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal — an 8.8 percent increase over the 2013 total of 451,057 TEUs.
“Strong export markets, primarily for chemical and agriculture products, together with new inbound customers such as Chiquita contributed to record container volumes,” said Gary LaGrange, port president and CEO. “New services in 2015, such as the recently announced CMA CGM weekly European service, and a full year of Chiquita cargo could translate into robust results again.”
The port welcomed a new weekly European service from French container carrier CMA CGM on Monday with the arrival of CMA CGM Jamaica. Chiquita Brands International, along with its sailing partner, Mediterranean Shipping Co., began weekly service to the port in October, relocating its shipping operations to New Orleans after a 40-year hiatus.
New Orleans Terminal and Ports America jointly operate the container terminal. New Orleans Terminal handles the new Chiquita cargo and Ports America handles the CMA CGM service. The new services join existing customers such as MSC, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk, Seaboard Marine, American President Line, Hyundai and MOL offering regular container services at the terminal. In an effort to attract new container services, the port’s board of commissioners recently approved an incentive dockage rate for a service’s first 20 vessel calls.
Efforts to expand the container terminal are underway. The new Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal is taking shape, which will result in a modern and efficient container transfer system to facilitate the movement of marine and rail cargo. The total cost of the 12-acre project is $25.1 million, which includes a $16.7 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant. The intermodal terminal, set for completion in February 2016, will add an estimated 200,000 TEUs of capacity to the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal, bringing total capacity to 840,000 TEUs per year.
The Port and New Orleans Terminal are jointly investing $7.9 million in a racking system to store more than 600 refrigerated containers at once. The installation is scheduled for completion by year’s end.