The Port of New Orleans is a deep-water draft port located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is the sixth-largest port in the United States based on volume of cargo handled, and 13th-largest in the U.S. based on value of cargo. It also has the longest wharf in the world, which is 2.01 miles long and can accommodate 15 vessels at one time.
The Port of New Orleans handles about 62 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 the center of the Lower Mississippi River port complex in Louisiana. Connected to America's heartland by the great 23,300 kilometer inland waterway of the Mississippi River and its tributaries, the Port of New Orleans is the port of choice for a wide range of cargoes that include rubber, coffee, steel, containers, 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 this extremely high rate of traffic, the Port of New Orleans is seen as the center point of American waterway trade.
The Port of New Orleans is the United States' only deep-water port served by six major railroads, which is more than any other port in the country, that give it cost-effective rail service to destinations throughout the country. These six railroads are linked by the New Orleans Public Belt, a 25mi railroad. The productive private maritime industry in the Port of New Orleans helps it produce year after year and giving it the United States' largest market share for imported steel, plywood, coffee, and natural rubber.
Facility investment and terminal operations
Steel loading on the Wharf.
The Port of New Orleans has made significant investments in assuring state-of-the-art facilities throughout the port. Revitalized container and breakbulk terminals are well equipped with multi-purpose cranes, expanded marshalling yards, and new roadways. 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 $100 million 25-hectare state-of-the-art facility. 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 a 14,800 square meter dockside cold storage facility at the Jourdan Road Terminal that contains ten super-blast freezing cells. As the country's major coffee-handling port, the Port of New Orleans has 14 warehouses covering over 51 hectares of storage space 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. Berth 1 is 256 meters long with alongside depth of 11.5 meters. It is served by rail and has an 8,800 square meter shed, 15,900 square meters of open area, and 14,100 square meters open on land side.
Ports America Louisiana operates Nashville Avenue Wharves "A," "B," and "C" in the Port of New Orleans. Wharf "A" handles containerized, breakbulk, and palletized cargoes. Its five berths are a total of 841 meters long with alongside depth of 10.6 meters. The wharf is served by rail and contains a 70,200 square meter shed, 248,400 square meters of open space, and nearby cold storage facilities. The Port of New Orleans' Nashville Avenue Wharf "B" has three berths totaling 544 meters long with alongside depth of 10.6 meters. Served by rail, the wharf has 13,100 square meters of shed and 248,400 square meters of open storage. The Port of New Orleans' Nashville Avenue Wharf "C" is 505 meters long with alongside depth of 10.6 meters. Its three berths are served by surface rail tracks and platform-level tracks with truck service, and a 248,400 square meter open storage area.
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 that are a total of 484 meters long with alongside depth of 10.6 meters. The Port of New Orleans' Louisiana Avenue complex covers an area of almost 16,600 square meters and contains 146,900 square meters of paved back-up area. 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. It has two berths totaling 375 meters in length with alongside depth of 10.6 meters. Also served by the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, its facilities include an 11,700 square meter shed, a 10,600 square meter open area, and two truck loading areas. The Port of New Orleans' Governor Nicholls Street Wharf on the east bank handles conventional and containerized general cargoes. The two berths are a total 368 meters long with alongside depth of 12 meters. Served by rail, these Port of New Orleans facilities include a 14,500 square meter shed and 3,500 square meters of open area on the wharf. The wharf is equipped with a deck/truck loading area with capacity to handle 850 pounds per square foot.
Located in the Port of New Orleans' Industrial Canal is the France Road Container Terminal. Terminal Berth 1 is 253 meters long with alongside depths from 9 to 10 meters. The 14ha site is served by rail and contains a 241,500 square meter marshaling area, a 6,200 square meter shed, 160 reefer outlets, and 44 truck and rail bays at the shed. Terminal Berth 5 has two berths totaling 518 meters long with alongside depths from 9 to 10 meters. Also served by rail, the facilities include two consolidation sheds of a total 12,200 square meters, a 195,100 square meter marshalling area, 60 reefer outlets, a nitrogen chill system, and a roll-on/roll-off ramp. Terminal 4 handles containerized cargo at a 213-meter-long berth with alongside depths of 9 to 10 meters. The facilities, which are also served by rail, include a 120,800 square meter marshaling area and 84 reefer outlets. The Jourdan Road Terminal in the Port of New Orleans is operated by New Orleans Cold Storage. Its two berths total 426 meters in length with alongside depth of 10 meters. Facilities include a 14,800 square meter warehouse with 24 dock doors on the truck/container side and four main freezer dockside freezer 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.