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2014 Sets Container Volume Record

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The addition of new shipping services and an uptick in the national economy contributed to record 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 during the 12 months – an 8.8 percent increase over the 2013 total of 451,057.

“Strong export markets, primarily for chemical and agriculture products, together with new inbound customers such as Chiquita contributed to record container volumes,” said Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange. “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 in 2015.”

The Port welcomed a new weekly European service from French container carrier CMA CGM Feb. 2 with the arrival of the CMA CGM Jamaica. In addition, Chiquita Brands International, along with their sailing partner Mediterranean Shipping Company, began weekly service to the Port in October, after relocating its shipping operations to New Orleans after a 40-year hiatus.

New Orleans Terminal and Ports America jointly operate the container terminal – with New Orleans Terminal handling the new Chiquita cargo and Ports America handling the CMA CGM service. The new services join existing customers MSC, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk, Seaboard Marine, CSAV, Zim, NYK, Orient Overseas Container Line, 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 a new incentive dockage rate for a new service’s first 20 vessel calls.

“It takes a collaborative effort of the entire maritime community to achieve success, compete globally and sustain that competitive advantage,” LaGrange said. “We will continue to be proactive in meeting our customers’ needs.”

Efforts to expand the container terminal are well underway. The new Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal is taking shape within the terminal, which will result in a modern and efficient intermodal container transfer terminal to facilitate the movement of marine and rail cargo, while enhancing safety and reducing the carbon footprint of the regional and national transportation systems. The total investment for the 12-acre project is $25.1 million, which includes a $16.7 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. The intermodal terminal will add an estimated 200,000 TEUs of capacity to the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal – bringing total capacity to 840,000 TEUs per year. Expected completion date is February of 2016.

In addition, the Port and New Orleans Terminal are jointly investing $7.9 million in a refrigerated container racking system within the container terminal to store more than 600 refrigerated containers at once, due to the surging demand for refrigerated cargo in New Orleans – primarily imported bananas and exported poultry. The installation is scheduled for completion by year’s end.