The Port of New Orleans is a deep-draft multipurpose port at the center of the world's busiest port system -- Louisiana's Lowe Mississippi River. Specializing in breakbulk and container cargo, as well as passenger cruises, the Port of New Orleans is a modern gateway connecting inland U.S. and Canada to global markets via 14,500 miles of waterways, six Class I railroads and the interstate highway system. The Port of New Orleans' unique geographic location, unparalleled inland connections and multimodal capabilities deliver integrated and seamless logistics solutions between river, rail and road.
The Port of New Orleans handles about 90 million short tons of cargo a year. The port also handles about 50,000 barges and 1,000,000 cruise passengers per year, with several cruise ships from Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines, making it one of the nation's premier cruise ports. The Port of South Louisiana, based in the New Orleans suburb of LaPlace handles 193 million short tons. The Port of New Orleans and the Port of South Louisiana combined form one of the largest port systems in the world by bulk tonnage and among the top ten in the world by annual volume handled.
In 1946 a foreign trade zone was established in the port.
The Napoleon intermodal railyard allows for containers to be transported by train.
The Port of New Orleans is located at the center of the Lower Mississippi River port complex in Louisiana. Connected to America's heartland by the Mississippi River and its tributaries, the Port of New Orleans handles a wide range of cargoes, including rubber, coffee, steel, containers, coal, and manufactured goods. Some 6,000 vessels and 500 million tons of cargo travel up and down the Mississippi River each year, including over half of the country's grain exports. With its access to 23,300 kilometers of inland waterway and high rate of traffic, the Port of New Orleans is a major hub for American waterway trade.
The Port of New Orleans is the United States' only deep-water port served by six major railroads, allowing cost-effective rail service to destinations throughout the country. These six railroads are linked by the New Orleans Public Belt, a 25mi railroad.
Facility investment and terminal operations
Steel loading on the Wharf.
The Port of New Orleans has made significant investments in keeping facilities throughout the port up to date. Revitalized container and breakbulk terminals are equipped with multi-purpose cranes and expanded marshalling yards. The Port of New Orleans facilities include over 204 hectares of cargo-handling areas and more than 12 hectares of covered storage. Port facilities accommodate about 2,000 vessel calls per year.
The Port of New Orleans' Napoleon Container Terminal is a 25-hectare facility that last underwent major upgrades in 2012. The Henry Clay Avenue and Milan Street terminals in the Port of New Orleans are served by the world's longest wharf: the three kilometer wharf can accommodate up to 15 vessels at the same time. New Orleans Cold Storage is the oldest cold storage company in the United States. It currently operates a 14,800 square meter dockside cold storage facility at the Jourdan Road Terminal. The Port of New Orleans also has 14 warehouses over 51 hectares for coffee storage and six roasting facilities.
Operated by P&O Ports of Louisiana, the Port of New Orleans's Henry Clay Avenue Wharf is located on the east bank of the Mississippi River. It handles containerized, breakbulk, and palletized cargoes and is served by rail.
Ports America Louisiana operates Nashville Avenue Wharves "A," "B," and "C" in the Port of New Orleans. Each has separate covered and open storage areas. Wharf "A" handles containerized, breakbulk, and palletized cargoes. The wharf is served by rail and nearby cold storage facilities. The Port of New Orleans' Nashville Avenue Wharf "B" is served by rail. The Port of New Orleans' Nashville Avenue Wharf "C" is served by surface rail tracks and platform-level tracks with truck service.
The Port of New Orleans' Louisiana Avenue Complex is operated by Coastal Cargo Company. Located on the east bank, it handles containerized, breakbulk, and palletized cargoes at two berths served by rail. Also operated by Coastal Cargo Company, the Port of New Orleans' Harmony Street Wharf on the east bank of the river handles mostly steel and steel products. Also served by the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, it has two truck loading areas. The Port of New Orleans' Governor Nicholls Street Wharf on the east bank handles conventional and containerized general cargoes and is served by rail
Located in the Port of New Orleans' Industrial Canal is the France Road Container Terminal. The 14ha site is served by rail and contains 160 reefer outlets, and 44 truck and rail bays at the shed. Terminal Berth 5 has two berths totaling 518 meters long, with two consolidation sheds, 60 reefer outlets, a nitrogen chill system, and a roll-on/roll-off ramp. Terminal 4 handles containerized cargo. The Jourdan Road Terminal in the Port of New Orleans is operated by New Orleans Cold Storage. Facilities include four main freezer dockside doors that allow for two reefer ships to be loaded at the same time. The facility's super-blast freezing systems can freeze meat products within 24 hours.
Cruise terminal facilities
The Port of New Orleans has a cruise terminal that accommodates cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian, and ACCL.
The Port’s signature facility, the Erato Street Cruise Terminal and Parking Garage Complex, opened on October 15, 2006. It has full Customs and Border Protection clearance facilities, a large embarkation deck with over 50 check-in counters, complete security facilities, and a snack/curio shop. It is fully air-conditioned and attaches to the ship by a raised, articulated, air-conditioned gangway. The building includes a four-level, 1,000-car garage which offers the passenger convenient covered parking in a fully secure environment. The 8,300-square-meter cruise terminal has 792 meters of continuous waterfront with a depth of 9.1 meters.
The Port’s first cruise terminal, the Julia Street Cruise Terminal Complex, was started in 1991 in a building originally constructed for the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans. It has undergone four different configurations to adapt to the ever-changing size of cruise ships. Currently, it includes two distinct terminals; the 2009 State Legislature has approved funding to again improve the terminals. The design/engineering phase to re-develop the terminal into one mega-terminal with a raised, articulated, air-conditioned gangway has begun, and the new terminal is scheduled to open in the winter of 2010. The terminal's two berths are a total of 609 meters long with alongside depth of 9.1 meters. Berth 1 has an almost 4,000 square-meter terminal, and Berth 2 has a 2,500 square-meter terminal. Both terminals have covered drive-in, drop-off and pick-up areas.
2020 master plan
The capital improvement plan that the Port of New Orleans has entered into is an attempt to capitalize on the changing demand of the shipping industry. The overall breakbulk growth in the next 10–20 years is likely to be in the range of just 2–3%. A survey of competing East Coast and Gulf Coast ports supports the expectation of growth in container traffic for all coastal ranges in the United States. In addition, the following industry trends are highlighted: growth in world trade and containerized cargo as a percentage of world trade; relocation of manufacturing to Northeast Asia ; growth in regional and intraregional demand; and the increase in container terminal capacity and related infrastructure at East Coast ports. Strategic and master planning for competing ports affirms continuing growth in the volume of containerized cargo in the North American market. A significant six percent annual growth rate is anticipated through 2020.
A major factor in port selection is inland transportation costs. Rising rail costs at West Coast ports, coupled with port congestion and lengthy transit times, are causing shippers to seek cost-effective alternatives. As a result, the market share of Asian cargo has dramatically increased on the East and Gulf Coasts and ports are expanding terminal capacity and improving the inland transportation infrastructure in response. The Port of New Orleans can provide less expensive inland transportation and faster transit times to the industrial Midwest and the East Coast than Houston, which continues to experience inland congestion because of its large local market to the north and west, including Dallas and Kansas City.
The above factors support efforts by the Port of New Orleans to expand container terminal capacity and indicate opportunities to capitalize on projected growth in container traffic. The grand total for all fifteen short and long term projects included in the plan is $1.04 billion. These investments will go towards the expansion of the Napoleon container terminal, converting a wharf into a new cruise ship terminal, and relocation of cold storage facilities among other projects.