Message from the CEO
Partnering for the Future
The City of New Orleans is preparing to celebrate its tricentennial in 2018. We have been reflecting on our Port’s history as well because the Port was the driving reason New Orleans was founded and global trade activity precipitated the city’s growth. Certainly, Port NOLA’s strategic location on the Mississippi River, with access to 14,500 miles of tributaries, provided an initial advantage.
However, location alone does not explain our growth, in both size and diversity. I believe our ability to adapt and innovate, both in response to challenges and in anticipation of opportunity, must be key to our continued success. There have been many examples over the years, but I’ll highlight a few here.
In 2002, when a tariff on steel dramatically reduced our revenue, we recognized the need to diversify, so we focused on developing our cruise business. That decision has benefited more than the Port – the economic impact of each homeported ship contributes to the prosperity of the entire region. Today our volumes and revenues are diversified amongst containers, breakbulk, cruise and real estate, and further diversification will be achieved as we move more into the rail freight business with the alignment of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad under the Port of New Orleans.
This month’s cover story provides another example of the Port’s ability to capitalize on opportunity. Much has been written about the monumental growth projected for plastics and resins. We have been working proactively and creatively with our tenants in that industry to ensure Port NOLA invests appropriately so we are able to accommodate the demand. Again, our decisions and our tenants’ success will benefit the region.
Location and innovation are important, yet the most important component of Port NOLA’s success lies in our relationships with tenants, carriers, shippers, dock workers, rail partners, truckers and other partners. When we collaborate, we are stronger, better equipped to deliver opportunities and stay ahead of the curve in changing global markets.
Our industry has always been an industry of interdependence. Goods are handled by many companies and are tracked by different entities as they move around the world. Still, no matter how complex the deal, trust and a willingness to work together are necessary for success. The Port’s alignment with the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad and bold investments in infrastructure set the stage for us to truly become a gateway port, ready to serve a global market for the next 300 years.
As I reflect on the past and look to the future, I am grateful for our Port’s history and location. I remain focused on new ways to adapt and serve the region, and committed to forging new innovative partnerships that lead to greater prosperity for all.
Brandy D. Christian
President and CEO