For Port NOLA, Service Restoration Under Way
The Port-owned New Orleans Public Belt Railroad has resumed operations with modified hours to connect BNSF, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific with uninterrupted service, and CN, CSX and Kansas City Southern with limited service. (Port NOLA is also served by New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway, Railway Age’s 2016 Short Line of the Year.) Navigation on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway east of the Mississippi River through the Inner Harbor Canal Lock has returned as well. Approximately 6,000 oceangoing ships transit the river annually and handle 60% of the nation’s export grain and 20% of its energy.
According to Port NOLA, port crews, terminal operators and tenants continue preparing facilities for broader service restoration. (Terminal operator schedules can be found on the Port NOLA storm update webpage.)
On Sept. 1, the U.S. Coast Guard reopened the Lower Mississippi River to all vessel traffic from mile marker 105 to the mouth of the river. “The port’s terminals and industrial real estate properties sustained no major damage, due to their location within the $14 billion federal Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System,” reported Port NOLA, which implemented its hurricane restoration plan—locating employees, assessing facility impacts, and coordinating with state and local agencies—immediately following Hurricane Ida.
Seven general cargo vessels remained in port during the hurricane, and their operations resumed Sept. 2, beginning with the MV Ishizuchi Star, which discharged steel at Coastal Cargo at the Louisiana Avenue Complex. Three terminal operators—Coastal Cargo, Gulf Stream Marine and Ports America—were open Sept. 3, and Empire Stevedoring is slated to resume service Sept. 7.
“The State of Louisiana and our entire maritime industry are resilient,” said Brandy D. Christian, President and CEO of Port NOLA and CEO of NOPB. “In the wake of this powerful storm, we are thankful for our essential port workers, maritime partners, as well as the federal, state and local partners who worked tirelessly to get the Port NOLA gateway up and running. Nationally, Port NOLA supports nearly 120,000 jobs and generates an economic impact of nearly $30 billion. Our focus has been to resume operations quickly and safely.”
In other news, Port NOLA in August awarded a $4 million, three-year Program Management and Control Services contract to HDR Engineering, Inc. as part of the multi-year due diligence and permitting process for the new Louisiana International Terminal (LIT) container facility in St. Bernard Parish.