POSTED: Friday, May 11, 2012 - 4:30pm
UPDATED: Friday, May 11, 2012 - 4:34pm
NEW ORLEANS, LA — Today, Governor Bobby Jindal joined the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans in dedicating major improvements at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal that will generate more cargo and jobs for the city and state.
The improvements, including new gantry cranes and an additional 4.5 acres of marshalling area, represent a $36.4 million investment. The state funded $30 million of the total project investment. Governor Jindal worked to fund these projects in his first year in office. The dedication marked a major milestone as Louisiana grows its port facilities to handle rising trade volumes tied to the expansion of the Panama Canal and other international trends.
Governor Jindal said, “Our ports across the state – especially here in New Orleans – are the gateway to commerce and cargo of all kinds winding its way up the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico and down the Mississippi River from the greatest inland waterway system in the world. Indeed, our ports are doorways to the world that create thousands of jobs for our people, and that’s why we have invested $233 million in our ports across the state. These investments will increase the capacity at our ports to handle more cargo. The bottom line is that more cargo equals more jobs, which equals better career opportunities for the people of Louisiana. Today’s investment sends the message to the shipping community around the world that the Port of New Orleans is stepping into the future and it will be a leading port for years to come.”
All told, 160,500 jobs in Louisiana are tied to the cargo handled by the Port of New Orleans, according to a study commissioned by the Port. Of that amount, 12,300 are direct, transportation-related jobs. New Orleans handles many types of cargo, but the Port’s container volumes specifically generate 5,500 direct jobs. The new capacity at the marshalling yard gives the Port to ability to grow that number by about 495 jobs.
“We have grown our container volumes significantly over the last few years by focusing on the needs of the shippers and by making smart investments in our capacity,” said Gary P. LaGrange, President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans. “We are proud of what we have accomplished, but know that we will have to continue to work hard to reach our goal of handling 1 million containers per year at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal.”
The terminal is operated by Ports America and New Orleans Terminal, which is a joint venture between shipping line Mediterranean Shipping Co., or MSC, and terminal operator Ceres Gulf Inc. Major ocean carriers – including MSC, Hapag-Lloyd, CMA-CGM, Seaboard Marine, Maersk, CSAV and Zim – call on the terminal with services to major shipping lanes on a regular basis.
Before the expansion of the marshalling yard, the Port of New Orleans had the capacity to handle about 594,000 TEUs, or twenty-foot equivalency units, per year. With the new 4.5 acres, the Port’s capacity has grown to 640,000 TEUs per year. Altogether, the Port of New Orleans has an expansion footprint at the Napoleon Avenue container Terminal that will support more than 1.2 million containers per year with continued investment.
With the addition of the two new cranes, the Port of New Orleans has a total of six cranes to service container ships. The new cranes are larger than the existing cranes and are specifically designed to handle the larger container ships that are plying the Gulf of Mexico. Those ships are expected to continue to grow as a new set of locks opens on the Panama Canal in 2014, allowing for better access from the Far East and the west coast of South America to the Gulf region.
The new cranes are mounted on a 100-foot-gauge rail system so they can be used along various parts of the berth. They can reach across 19 rows of containers stacked on a ship. The crane construction and installation project totaled $29 million, with $24.6 million coming from state Capital Outlay funding and $4.4 million coming from the Port. The cranes were built by Doosan Heavy Industries of Seoul, South Korea. Shaw GBB did design and construction administration work, while G.A. West performed crane rail extension work.
The project that added 4.5 acres of marshalling yard space brings the total area used for handling containers to 115 acres. That $7.4 million project was supported by a $5.4 million grant from the State of Louisiana’s Port Priority Program and $2 million from the Port. The project involved demolishing a warehouse and paving an area with heavy-duty concrete capable of handling a load of cargo containers stacked five high. Durr Heavy Construction did the demolition work and Hard Rock Construction was the lead contractor for the paving work.