Building on 2015’s gains to reach new heights
Message From the CEO
On the heels of four record years in a row at the Port of New Orleans, 2015 proved to be another year full of milestones and record results.
This past year, the Port surpassed the half-million mark for twenty-foot-equivalent units handled in a 12-month period for the first time.
Container data through the end of the year found a 7 percent increase over 2014’s numbers with 525,386 TEUs. Those figures reflect an increase in container volume in the Central American trade lane, buoyed by banana imports and paper and chemical exports. End of year breakbulk cargo data revealed a 5 percent growth in breakbulk tons over the previous year, led by an increase in imported steel.
As we move into 2016 we anticipate continued growth in our container market, along with a robust breakbulk and project cargo market. The investment boom in the chemical and petrochemical industry on the Lower Mississippi River will no doubt spur continued growth. Chemical and petrochemical companies have announced more than $81 billion in investments in new and expansion projects in Louisiana, leading experts to predict chemical exports could triple as these projects are completed and come online in the coming years.
A historic milestone was also met in the Port’s cruise industry this past year. More than 1 million cruise passengers passed through the Port’s cruise terminals for a second year in a row. The total for 2015 was 1,023,700, up 1 percent compared to 2014. We set our goal to surpass the 1-million-passenger-mark a few years ago, and we did it thanks to our valued cruise partners, a strong marketing effort and continued investment into first-class facilities. And we expect those numbers to rise again with new and larger ships and plans for a third cruise terminal on the horizon.
The Port’s industrial real estate portfolio is also producing strong results. In the years since the closure of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, we have worked to reinvent that property into an international logistics hub with firms adding value to cargo right here in New Orleans.
Today, we have 42 leases covering about 500 acres and generating $6 million in annual revenue – nearly double the revenue from when the MR-GO was open to deep-draft shipping.
With every sector of the Port’s business portfolio realizing strong results, we have reinvested in smart growth through our environmental efforts. As we continue to grow, we want to do so in an environmentally friendly way and serve as a leader in green initiatives within our jurisdiction and beyond.
The Port’s environmental services department successfully implemented an environmental program, resulting in the Port of New Orleans
becoming the 8th U.S. port to earn Green Port certification from Green Marine. The voluntary environmental certification program is a rigorous and transparent initiative that addresses key environmental issues in the maritime industry. The environmental services department is also responsible for the “Keep it Clean” campaign aimed at reducing waste on our property and in our waterways. The campaign was recognized by the American Association of Port Authorities recently with a national Environmental Improvement Award.
While highlighting our accomplishments and looking to the future, the maritime industry must work together to educate the public on the economic impacts and community benefits of international trade in Louisiana. Industrywide, ports are making an effort to communicate the importance of international trade and the Port of New Orleans is leading its own effort with radio and television advertising, targeted marketing videos and an aggressive community outreach effort.
We’ve made great strides and will continue to reach out to academia, business associations, policy makers, elected officials and neighborhood associations. In the next year, the Port will update its economic impact report and will soon embark on an ambitious new master plan to determine the best investments and facilities as new cargo trends impact our industry.
Our industry’s success and achievements cannot be overlooked. We must continue to be our own cheerleaders to ensure our industry receives the respect it deserves locally, in the State Capitol and in Washington D.C.
Gary P. LaGrange, PPM
President and CEO